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6 Things You Can Do to Update Your Cottage Instead of Renovations

With the pandemic causing the price of lumber to soar to record high prices, it’s probably best that you wait a little while before starting a new renovation project. Unless you’re one of the lucky few sitting on stockpiled supplies and are ready to get rolling on a new project, you can expect to pay up to three times the normal price for lumber this year. Experts agree that prices will return to normal once the pandemic subsides and people get back to traveling. Until then, there are a few things you can do to spruce up your cottage and breathe some new life into it without breaking the bank on a few 2×4’s.

Add a fresh coat of paint
Painting is one of the cheapest and most immediately noticeable improvements you can make to a property. It’s also a great (and super easy) way to increase the value of your cottage, so throw on a fresh coat! Don’t rush into picking a colour, and if you’re going to be selling in the near future, use neutral colours. You don’t want to pick something bold if you’re going to be selling soon, as it’ll just be seen as another “to do” by potential buyers.

Update (or add) laundry
When you’re spending time at the cottage, the last thing you want to do is visit the laundromat or pack up a load of dirty clothes to bring back home with you. Adding laundry to your cottage not only provides convenience, but is also a very attractive feature for potential buyers. If your cottage already has laundry, look into updating your appliances – especially if they’re on the older side. (Yes, Kenmore mint green washer and dryer set from 1982 – we’re talking about you.)

Save money and increase comfort with new windows
With major renovations being put off, now’s the perfect time to look into adding new windows to your cottage. If you’re looking for an effective way to keep utility bills to a minimum and keep the cottage more comfortable year-round, consider installing energy efficient windows. Not only will they cut costs and keep you more comfortable, but they’ll boost the value of your cottage, reduce noise, increase security, and enhance your views.

Shed some light on the situation
If you’ve found that your cottage gets a little too dark after the sun goes down, it might be time to add some more lights. This is a problem faced by many cottage owners, and it’s usually solved just by placing lamps around the darker areas, track lighting in the kitchen, and fairy lights on the deck. Adding new lights is an affordable way to refresh your cottage and finally brighten things up, letting you get rid of some of those kitschy old lamps. If you’re not quite ready to add new lights, swapping your bulbs out for LED light bulbs is a quick way to brighten things up without the investment.

Change it up with some new furniture, window treatments and linens
If you’ve been spending more time at the cottage during the pandemic, there’s a good chance you’ve started to grow tired of your furniture. Either it came with the cottage when you bought it, or it’s cobbled together with second-hand furniture or broken-down stuff from your pad when you were a bachelor. While this certainly adds a certain charm to a cottage, it’s also a good way to make your cottage look very outdated. If many more cottage outings are in your future, swapping out your drab old furniture with new pieces can go a long way. Get something that’ll last for years to come, built to withstand kids, pets, and anything you might throw at it.

It’s also a great time to update your window treatments and linens. This might seem like a very minor improvement to your cottage, but these simple upgrades can addi some real beauty to your property. Swap out those ratty sheets, blankets and towels with soft, fluffy new ones, and throw out those frilled curtains in favour of something new that matches the rest of your decor. If you’re looking for some added privacy, consider adding blackout curtains or blinds.

Perfect time to declutter
Getting rid of the clutter is a cost-free way to spruce up your cottage and leave it feeling new-to-you again. Chances are it’s been a while since you’ve decluttered and that things have been left to pile up over the years – especially if you’ve only been visiting a few times per year. Clear out those old knick-knacks, books, toys, equipment, and everything else you’re never going to use again. Tackle those overstuffed junk drawers, closets, and even under your beds – clutter lives everywhere. Remember that once you’ve decluttered, the goal is to keep things clean and clear for the long term. Next time you consider bringing something with you to the cottage, ask yourself “do I really need this?”

Until lumber prices return to normal, focus on small and simple improvements you can make to your cottage. These projects aren’t brag-worthy (except windows, natch!), but can really go a long way in breathing new life into your getaway. Just because you won’t be adding a new deck overhauling your kitchen, doesn’t mean you can’t add value or refresh your property.

If you’re looking to refresh your cottage with new windows or doors this summer, let the folks at Muskoka Window & Door Centre help you pick the best, most efficient door and windows units for your Muskoka cottage. Our showroom features the highest quality products manufactured by the most trusted names in the industry, and our team of experts stand ready to breathe new life into your cottage. To get started on your upcoming door or window installation project, get in touch with us today.

Spring Cleaning: How to Take Apart Your Windows for Cleaning

**Please note: The below is provided as general direction. Refer to your window manufacturer’s manual for precise instructions.

Homeowners all around the province are rushing to get their spring cleaning list finished before the gorgeous weather arrives. This could be a summer to remember, and nobody wants to be stuck at home doing chores. That means it’s time to grab your bucket, a trusty microfiber cloth or rag, some soap and water, and your favourite window cleaning product because it’s time to get the most out of your view by cleaning those dirty windows.

Cleaning the windows themselves is a pretty straightforward task, but what about taking them apart for cleaning? In order to do a thorough job and give them the cleaning they deserve after a long winter season, taking them apart is a must – especially in situations where accessing your windows from the outside is difficult or simply out of the question. Here’s how to remove your windows for cleaning this spring cleaning season.

How to remove vertical and horizontal sliding windows for cleaning
Removing your sliding window can help with giving it a thorough cleaning so you can enjoy the view all summer long. Worry not, because it’s much easier than it sounds – simply follow these steps to remove your sliding windows:

Vertical sliding windows:

  • Check for screws in the side rails or rubber material in the top track of your window – these security measures are sometimes installed to prevent windows from being opened.
  • Unlock the window.
  • Lift clips on the interior of your window.
  • Lift the window until you hear a click.
  • Push left on the window and pull right to remove it for cleaning.
  • Reinsert the same way you took the window out, inserting it on the left and then on the right, sliding it back down into place, pushing down the interior clips, and activating the locks.

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

Horizontal sliding windows:

  • Unlock the window.
  • Slide the window past the plastic stopper – this stop prevents the window from being removed.
  • Once past the stopper, simply lift the window up and out from the bottom to remove it for cleaning.
  • Reinsert the window the same way you removed it – make sure that you’re reinserting it past the stopper. Push it top-first into the track, then insert the bottom. Slide the window closed and activate the locks.

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

When removing your sliding windows, it’s important that you remember to clean out the tracks of the window. This can be done with a microfiber cloth or even with a vacuum, and ensures that any dust, dirt or debris is removed from the window track, allowing the window to perform as intended.

How to remove and reinsert double-hung windows for cleaning
Double-hung windows feature two sashes (top and bottom) which can be operated independently. Removing double-hung windows for cleaning is quite similar to removing horizontal and vertical sliding windows. Following these steps will allow you to remove your double-hung windows quickly and efficiently for effective cleaning:

  • Unlock the mechanism between the two sashes.
  • First, slide the bottom sash a few inches towards the top of the window. Once slid up a few inches, squeeze both the tilt latch buttons at the top of the sash until they click.
  • Rotate the sash towards you until it’s perpendicular – from there, lift one side up a few inches, and then the other to remove the bottom sash for cleaning.
  • To remove the upper sash, slide it down towards where the bottom sash normally sits.
  • Press both tilt latch buttons on the top of the upper sash until they click, rotate the sash towards you until it’s perpendicular to the wall, and remove it the same way you removed the bottom sash.
  • Once both sashes have been removed, make sure the pivot bars aren’t connected to the balance shoes.
  • To reinsert your double-hung windows, start with the upper sash. Hold it perpendicular to the wall, placing one pivot bar into the outer balance shoe and then the other. When fully seated in the balance shoes, rotate the sash upwards and push it all the way to the top of the window.
  • Reinsert the bottom sash by following these same steps – hold it perpendicular to the wall, placing one pivot bar in the inner balance shoe and then the other. Rotate the bottom sash back into place, pushing it into the frame. Close the bottom sash and lock the window to ensure proper operation.

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

Voila! You’re now able to remove both vertical and horizontal sliding windows and double-hung windows, allowing you to deep clean them for the summer season ahead. Before you know it, you’ll have the cleanest windows on the block and your home will be the envy of all your neighbours.

While you’re cleaning your windows, remember to make sure that they’re operating as intended. If you notice anything that requires attention or which could impair the operation of your windows, you can trust the experienced team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre for any and all maintenance, repairs, and window replacement. Our team is well-versed in every aspect of window maintenance and installation, and our showroom features the highest quality products and accessories found in the Muskoka region. To find out more about the services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today!

What’s Behind the High Price of Wood? Lumber Costs Soar During the Pandemic

If you were planning to have renovations or construction done this summer, you may want to rethink your budget. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains all around the continent and sparked an inexplicably red hot housing market throughout Canada, causing the price of lumber to skyrocket in recent months. Coupled with a very low lumber supply, and you have a recipe for paying far more than you were planning for that new deck or shed.

Experts are currently recommending that anybody planning new construction projects (especially for new homes) should add more to their budget due to the price of lumber. So what exactly is behind the high price (and low supply) of wood, and will this disappear anytime soon? Here’s everything you need to know.

The cost of lumber and building materials has more than doubled
The pandemic has affected just about every industry in the country in some way, with constant lockdowns and increasingly harsh restrictions derailing supply chains everywhere. This has led to supply shortages in many sectors, with low supply being met by record high customer demand. One of the most affected materials is lumber, which has seen a massive price increase over the last year. With homeowners spending more time at home than ever before, the demand for lumber has skyrocketed at a time where supply can’t possibly keep up.

In fact, the price of lumber has nearly tripled since April 2019. The price increase is largely driven by a massive decrease in supply caused by the pandemic, which saw lumber mills ceasing production or dramatically scaling down their operations back in March 2020. Some mills were even forced to close permanently due to the pandemic’s effects on the economy.

Even with mills now back in action, the effects of the production slowdown are still being felt, and will continue to be felt for some time. Prior to COVID-19’s emergence in Canada, builders were paying an average of about $550 for a thousand board feet of lumber. Today, they’re paying nearly three times that much for the same amount of wood. The surge in new home constructions have worsened the problem, with homebuilders willingly paying up to $30,000 more in material fees in many cases. Even smaller homebuilding projects can cost up to $10,000 more due to the soaring price of lumber.

Homeowners who had plans to replace their wood flooring, build decks, sheds or new fences before the pandemic are now being faced with a dilemma – do you pay the higher price now, or do you wait for an undetermined amount of time to go ahead with the project? Even if you choose to go ahead with the project, many contractors are having trouble even getting their hands on a sufficient supply of lumber to complete projects, further complicating the situation and forcing homeowners to choose different contractors who might have access to more lumber.

When will lumber prices go back to normal?
The reality of the situation is that nobody knows when prices will return to “normal” or how that might happen. The supply chain interruptions coupled with record high demand we’re seeing have created a huge market disruption that could take some time to overcome. It’s likely that the best cure for high lumber prices is simply going to have to be time – once demand returns to normal and supply chains have time to catch up, it’s likely that the market will correct itself and that prices will fall closer to what was once considered normal. However, this may take as little as six months to as long as two years.

Until new home construction and high consumer demand return to their pre-pandemic levels, these high prices are here to stay for a little while. With vaccinations, the pandemic will wind down significantly as 2021 progresses, meaning consumer habits are very likely to return to normal once people are able to travel and return to their pre-pandemic lives. Lucky for us (and you!), the price of windows and doors has only been marginally affected, so any window or door project you hire us for won’t have these additional costs built in.

Looking to kickstart your renovations with gorgeous new windows and doors? Muskoka Window and Door Centre is the premier provider of quality windows and doors for homes and cottages. Our showroom is home to the absolute best the industry has to offer, curated to reflect the tastes and needs of Muskoka cottage and homeowners. To get started on your upcoming door or window installation project, get in touch with us today.