Building a Home on the Canadian Shield - Royal Homes Building a Home on the Canadian Shield - Royal Homes
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Building a Home on the Canadian Shield

Planning Your Lot & Home

As beautiful as they are, the varied landscapes that make up our vast province can present challenges for Ontario home builders. Building in cottage country often means building a home on the Canadian Shield, which extends through much of Central and Northern Ontario.

Wondering what it’s like to build on the Canadian Shield? These are a few of the things you need to consider.

Muskoka Cottage

The Appeal of Building a Home on the Canadian Shield

Millions of years ago, the Shield was a mountain range. Now, the forces of nature have shaped it into a band of rock that is one of Canada’s defining geographical traits. Think of how often the image of stalwart pines clinging resolutely to rocky cliffs features in the works of the Group of Seven! It’s no surprise people are drawn to this landscape.

There is a definite appeal to having the bare face of the Shield on your property: its shape creates natural steps and levels, making the land unique and interesting. However, it is not without challenges both for landscapers and home builders in Ontario.

Laying a Foundation

The first challenge is excavation. Even where the rock is not visible, there may be only a few metres of soil between the surface and the bedrock, which makes levelling and digging for the foundation difficult.

In that case, builders will need to either blast the rock or raise the ground with additional fill in order to create room for a basement. Both may be expensive propositions for the homeowner. Homes built on the Canadian shield often have a shallow foundation with a crawlspace instead of a full basement.

Laying the foundation on an outcropping of the Shield requires more care and skill than pouring on flat ground, since the concrete forms must conform to the contours of the rock. One must also account for the movement of rainwater and melting snow over the surface of the rock, ensuring water will not become trapped and accumulate under the foundation. This is definitely a job for home builders with experience in the area!


If the property is outside of town, you must also account for water and sewage during the building process. Country and cottage homes typically rely on a well for fresh water and a septic tank for wastewater disposal. However, on the Shield, this process is not as simple as excavating and laying a septic tank and well tile.

Adding underground plumbing may require blasting through the rock, which is often expensive; it may be worth exploring above-ground alternatives.


While rugged stone can be a beautiful addition to your landscape, it can also impose limitations. For instance, not all plants can thrive in shallow soil, and the terrain often has poor drainage.

Your first year on the property should be spent observing how the terrain responds throughout the seasons, especially during the spring thaw. Only then should you begin making major changes to the landscape.

I recommend Royal Homes to people speaking about building new.Penny
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  • FAQ

    Where can I get a price list or How come your website doesn’t show pricing?

    Prices vary geographically, depending on where you are building. With the amount of options available, price lists run into thousands of options. Prices change with the options you choose. The best way to get an idea on pricing would be to contact our Design Centre nearest to where you are building.

    Why should I buy from you over a conventional or "Stick-Builder"?

    The advantages of prefab include building in a climate controlled environment, using environmentally friendly products which reduces waste and a CSA monitored quality controlled program. There is less time start to finish, with less disruption to neighborhood. We also sell at a firm price.

    Do your homes include a foundation?

    Yes our homes include full foundation and basement.

    How long does it take to build a Royal Home?

    It takes less than two weeks to build a home in our factory, but the process from start to finish is very dependent on the timing of obtaining a building permit. For most of our clients the process from start to delivery is twelve to sixteen weeks with move in eight to twelve weeks thereafter.

    What size homes do you build?

    As a custom builder we can build any size home but generally the average size range is between 1300 and 3500 sq feet.

    Do you build garages?

    Yes. Garages are built on site after the home is delivered.

    Are the homes energy efficient?

    Building a prefab home in a factory assures the highest attention to sealing the building envelope and ensures that the cold stays out.

    Since your homes are so energy efficient and air tight, how do you get fresh air?

    All our homes have HRV heat recovery ventilator air exchanger to remove stale air, and introduce fresh air.

    Where can I put a prefab home?

    Anywhere in Ontario you like.

    Can I really customize my prefab home?

    Yes, we use state of the art custom design software, today no two homes are built alike.

    Do you finish the basement?

    Yes. We can customize your basement to the finishes you desire.

    Are Royal Homes built to code?

    All Royal Homes are individually designed to meet all provincial and municipal building codes for your specific lot location.

    Do you build stick-built or conventional homes as well?

    We are a custom home builder first and use prefabricated components wherever we can, because it is a better way to build. If you have a remote site or custom home design with large open spaces we would look at what makes most sense for that design and location. This could include prebuilt panels or partially site built specific rooms.

    What makes the building process environmentally friendly?

    Waste in the factory is separated and recycled, reducing the impact on landfills. This has less disruption in terms of noise and time at job site. Building prefab allows for higher energy efficient homes and reduced heating costs.

    How is your home delivered?

    Our home is delivered by way of custom designed hydraulic flatbed trailers and precisely craned onto the foundation.

    Can you make changes or custom design?

    Yes, clients are given preliminary plans to review and changes are welcome and easily accommodated.