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3 Easy Steps to Fix Drywall Cracks at Window & Door Corners

Drywall cracks at window and door corners can easily form over time, and are a common occurrence for Muskoka cottagers due to the extra stress from the elements and, where a cottage is used seasonally, temperature differences. 

Fortunately, most drywall damage is inexpensive to fix and can be remedied fairly quickly. All you need are some basic tools, the right materials, and a few tricks of the trade to repair any cracks in the drywall. 

Here is an easy three step process you can follow to fix unsightly cracks at your window and door corners. To get started, make sure you have all these items: 

  • Dust mask
  • Mud pan
  • Taping knife
  • Utility knife
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paper drywall tape
  • Pre-mixed joint compound
  • Setting type compound 

 

Step one: Cut out loose material

Before you can get to fixing the deep cracks in the drywall, you need to first remove everything that is loose. Cut a V-shaped notch using a utility knife through the full length of the crack ( ⅛ to ¼ inches) and get rid of all loose wall material. Be sure to protect the woodwork with masking tape. 

 

Step two: Embed drywall tape

Insert paper drywall tape in joint compound over the cracks using a taping knife. To avoid trapping air bubbles under the tape, make sure you moisten the tape with water first, then lay it over the drywall crack and squeeze out any excess compound and air from underneath with the blade. Here is a demo video you can watch.

Apply an additional thin layer of compound and smooth it out on both sides of the tape. Let it dry for 5-10 minutes.

 

Step three: Skim coat the wall

Apply a second coat of compound and then allow the repair to dry thoroughly. Once dry, sand it smooth with fine sandpaper (Make sure you do not expose the tape) and paint over the layers of compound. 

As your cottage or home settles, cracks may radiate from the corners of doors and windows. While cracks in the drywall are not unusual, it could be a warning sign of structural issues with the framing, foundation or moisture which can result in more costly damages to your home. 

When fixing drywall cracks, don’t forget to identify and recognize the causes to determine if they are serious in order to take appropriate corrective action.

Whether your walls are made of plaster or drywall, you can repair the cracks easily with a few steps. However, windows and doors are an important part of your home, and should be initially installed by professionals. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred supplier of high quality window and door products. Our expert team is ready to take on door and window installation projects of any size or scope. 

 

If you are trying to decide what to DIY and what to hire someone for, book us for your window or door installation to prevent future drywall cracks and other potential issues. 

 

To find out more about the products and installation services offered by the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today.

6 Must-See Muskoka Waterfalls

Cottage country is known for its lakes, but they’re not the only stunning water feature worth checking out. Muskoka is home to some of Ontario’s most dazzling waterfalls, carved out of the unique topography of the Canadian shield.

Many are clustered around Bracebridge, making them an easy hop for a Sunday drive if you’ve a home in Huntsville, Gravenhurst or around Lake Muskoka. Others are nestled in the area’s provincial parks, delighting hikers and adding breathtaking beauty to scenic lookouts.

Refreshing in summer, shimmering in winter, these eye-catching cascades will make you fall in love with the Muskokas all over again.

 

  1. Bracebridge Falls

It’s hard to miss the Bracebridge Falls. For one thing, you can hear them roaring from town thanks to their convenient downtown location on Wharf Road. Covered by the iconic Silver Bridge, this is a picture-perfect scene that’s well worth a visit if you’re enjoying Bracebridge’s lively shopping scene or just feel like strolling around town.

 

2. Hatchery Falls

You’ll have to strap on your hiking boots to see Hatchery Falls, but you won’t want to miss this classic rock-hewn waterfall fringed by dense forest. 

West of Utterson, at the south end of Skeleton Lake, the falls are accessible off Fish Hatchery Road. Park at the former fish hatchery and follow the signs to pick up the trail across the field and into the woods. The well-marked path will lead you right to the falls within 15 to 20 minutes. 

 

3. High Falls

Back in Bracebridge again, this time for four waterfalls in one. 

The High Falls water park, located on High Falls Road to the north of Bracebridge, contains four waterfalls on one site making it a must for waterfall enthusiasts. 

Here you’ll find High Falls, Little High Falls, Pott’s Falls, and Muskoka Canyon Falls – all natural rapids that offer keen photographers plenty of stunning shots. The area is well signposted, with plenty of hiking trails so you can easily wander to the waterfalls, enjoying gorgeous views along the way. 

 

4. Ragged Falls

Just before the entrance to Algonquin Park, on Highway 60, you’ll find Ragged Falls – a stunning cascade that’s regularly named one of the best 10 waterfalls in the province.

Churning into the Oxtongue River, the whitewater rapids are an impressive sight. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the lookout so you don’t even have to break a sweat. Pack a picnic or just soak up the peace of this geological marvel, it’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

 

5. Skeleton Falls

Also known as Minnehaha Falls, Skeleton Falls is a remote waterfall perfect for when you want to escape the busy Muskoka highways and immerse yourself in the natural playground of cottage country.

It’s a steep cascade with downstream rapids so take care when visiting the site. Located off Highway 141, the high falls are just as pretty in the colder months than summer. In deep winter, the slower-moving torrents freeze over, giving a gorgeous glacial effect. In summer, it’s a good idea to bring bug spray – locals say the falls take their name from the over-zealous mosquitos who only leave skeletons in their wake.

 

6. Wilson’s Falls

It’s worth taking a full day to explore Wilson’s Falls in Bracebridge. These pretty falls meander down rocky layers of the Canadian shield, gently rushing into the north branch of the Muskoka river. 

There’s a picnic area nearby along with plenty of walking trails and swimming spots for lazy summer days. If you’re in the mood for a lengthier hike, take the Wilson’s Falls trail, a 3.6 km loop that takes you through deep forest, sleep slopes and rocky terrain.

 

Muskoka Window & Door Centre can refresh the windows on your Muskoka cottage or home. Contact us for an estimate today! 

Considering a Casement? The Guide to This Elegant Window Style

Your Muskoka cottage deserves the best. Whether you’re decorating, renovating or updating your dream home, it’s worth diving into the details to make sure all your fixtures and fittings are top notch. 

When it comes to windows, there’s a lot to think about – do they reflect the overall style of the house? Will they hold up to winter? Are they energy efficient? How much maintenance do they need?

Casement windows are one of the most popular styles on the market, prized for their reliability, look and function. If you’re interested in upgrading to this sophisticated style read on for a comprehensive guide on casement types and how they can transform the look of your rural retreat.

 

What are casement windows?

Take a look at the cottages around Muskoka, and you’ll see plenty of beautiful casement windows adorning their exteriors. These elegant windows are installed vertically with a hinge at the side to open outwards, like shutters or doors. 

You may also hear them referred to as ‘crank windows’ since some models swing open via a crank handle

Casements come in two styles: fixed or operable.

Operable casement windows swing open from the side which has the advantage of giving you better ventilation and making them easier to clean.

By contrast, fixed casements don’t open. They’re primarily used as windows to give you an unobstructed view of the outdoors in areas that benefit from lots of light. They’re also used where you want the light, but don’t necessarily need a lot of ventilation, such as in stairwells.

Some suppliers offer a combination of fixed and operable so one part of the window can open out while the other remains sealed. You’ll often see this type of hybrid in bay windows.

If you’re really looking to impress, consider french casement windows. Just like french doors, these open out from the centre to instantly give any room a breezy feel. They’re a great choice for any well-trafficked area in your home, especially those that are South-facing so you can catch the sun all day long.

 

Frames and fixtures for casement windows

Casements can be framed in a variety of materials including wood, vinyl, aluminum or fibreglass. Wood continues to win out in Muskoka as homeowners embrace the rustic look. Durable, strong and the perfect complement to the natural landscape, it’s not hard to understand its appeal.

With lumber prices fluctuating, however, wood isn’t always an option. Cost-conscious cottagers can explore more budget-friendly frames such as a wood combination, vinyl or aluminum.

The next step is picking your accessories. Casements can be dressed up with a sash, decorative hinges and handles and/or stays to support the window pane on windy days.

If you’re interested in winterizing your cottage, you may want to make your casements triple-paned rather than double. This offers greater protection against the icy blasts of Canada’s winter, while sealing in the warmth and reducing your energy bills.

As with any window model, casements should always be fitted by an experienced and professional installer who can carry out accurate measurements and advise you on any unforeseen issues. 

Muskoka Window and Door Centre specializes in installation, repairing and upgrading windows of all kinds, including casement styles. Our partnership with leading manufacturers means we can bring you the very latest products, styles and furnishings to suit your lakeside getaway. Contact us today to see how we can transform your home.

Tiny Homes In Muskoka

With property prices still high in Muskoka, homeowners on a budget are downsizing – in some cases literally. 

The modern-day trend of tiny homes, popular across Canada, has reached cottage country. From a proposed ‘tiny home neighbourhood’ in Huntsville, to cute cottages in Gravenhurst, the tiny home movement is gaining momentum as would-be residents get creative in response to the hot housing market.

 

What are tiny homes?

The modern tiny house trend can be traced back to the 1970s when environmentalists raised concerns over large-scale development. It really picked up in the 2000s however after the Great Recession and has grown since then thanks to more emphasis on sustainability and affordability.

The province of Ontario defines a tiny home as ‘a small, private, and self-contained dwelling unit’, no smaller than 17.5 sq m or 188 sq ft. The dwelling must have living and dining areas, a kitchen, a bathroom, a sleeping area, and be designed for year-round use. They should also be equipped with necessary services like water and sewage.

 

Can I build a tiny home in Muskoka?

They may be small, but tiny homes still have to comply with both local bylaws and the Ontario Building Code. And in many areas of Muskoka, they are unfortunately still illegal.

Anyone wanting to build a tiny home should check with their local municipality – different areas have different bylaws and you’ll also need a building permit issued by your municipality before you can start construction.

You stand the best chance of getting a permit in the Huntsville and Gravenhurst areas, which are proving the most progressive on the issue. There are still limitations in those areas though – homes must be built on a foundation (Ie not on wheels or otherwise moveable), have the necessary building permits, and meet the Ontario Building Code and local zoning ordinances. 

Other areas have been slow to move on embracing the tiny home movement, but advocates are pushing the issue into the spotlight and the upcoming election is further adding momentum. Candidates in the Parry Sound district have already voiced their support for legalizing the small structures as a solution to the affordable housing crisis. 

With real estate rocketing and demand for more affordable homes growing, tiny homes may well be the cottages of the future. 

 

If you’re buying or building a cottage, we can help turn it into your dream home – no matter the size of your property. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the region’s premier supplier of high performance doors and windows. Our expert team has years of experience in door and window installation, working with the biggest and best names in the industry. To find out more about our products and installation services, get in touch today.