Is Your Cottage Protected This Winter? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself - Royal Homes Is Your Cottage Protected This Winter? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself - Royal Homes
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Is Your Cottage Protected This Winter? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

Living In Your Home


You’ve survived your first summer as a cottage owner; now, it’s time to protect your cottage for the harsh winter months. Winterizing your cottage is a necessary task if you want to avoid costly repairs and renovations next spring.

Protect Cottage for Winter

Don’t wait until the first real day of winter to ensure your cottage is winter-ready! If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Complete or Partial Shutdown?

In a partial shutdown, the cottage remains heated and connected to the electrical grid during the winter months. A complete closure involves turning off the water, heat and electricity until spring.

Whether to leave the heat and electricity on over the winter is an age-old question for cottagers. There are strong arguments for both, but only one course of action may be right for you and your cottage.

The main reason to heat a vacant cottage is to avert the risk of structural damage. If the temperature dips below zero, any water inside the pipes can freeze; when that happens, the pipes can expand and burst under pressure. Freezing temperatures also create the risk of cracks to the cottage’s foundation if the basement is not well-insulated.

On the other hand, leaving the furnace on all winter can be expensive, especially if your cottage relies on an electric heating system. Space heaters consume more energy on average than all other appliances combined. Warming an empty cottage significantly increases its operating cost and your carbon footprint.

Cottage owners who opt for a complete shutdown should take steps to minimize the chance of structural damage caused by burst pipes or freezing soil. The above-grade exterior foundation of the cottage should have a layer of continuous insulation along the length of the wall; the interior of the basement should also be insulated. When closing the cottage, the owner must shut the water to the cottage at the main valve, drain the faucets and water heater completely, and add RV antifreeze to the toilets.

2. Is Your Cottage Crime-Proof?

Many cottage owners only visit the cottage once or twice during the winter, if at all. This can, unfortunately, leave the property vulnerable to break-ins.

The good news is, there are measures you can take to protect your cottage from winter burglars:

  • If you choose to leave the power on, install an electronic security alarm and surveillance cameras.
  • Lock every potential access point to the cottage, including second-story windows. Don’t forget to lock outbuildings like a shed or boathouse.
  • Remove any valuables that could be stolen in the event of a burglary, especially irreplaceable items like art and jewellery.

Know people who live in the neighbourhood year-round? Ask them to stop by the cottage every so often to check for signs of burglary, like broken windows. That way, you can report the crime and fix the damage as soon as possible.

3. Are You Ready for Wind, Ice and Snow?

When you re-open the cottage next spring, step one will be to survey the cottage for signs of damage. The steps you take now can help ensure that no surprises are waiting for you later.

  • Check for gaps around windows and doors that could allow cold air and moisture (not to mention vermin) to enter. Seal any gaps with foam strips or weather-stripping.
  • Clear fallen leaves and twigs from the gutters. Skipping this step increases the odds of an ice dam forming at the edge of the roof.
  • Trim weak or broken branches that hang over the roof. Don’t wait for them to snap and fall under the weight of snow.
  • Install protective shutters if your cottage does not have winter-ready storm windows. This step is not necessary with newly-built cottages but may be a concern for older structures.

 If you have asked yourself these questions and are taking the appropriate actions, you should be well on your way to protecting your cottage for the winter months. Once you have shut down your cottage, you can have peace of mind that your investment is protected and your re-opening will be stress-free and ready for your enjoyment in the warmer months.

I really liked the fact that after I had made my choices, everything went smoothly. The building process was hassle-free. I did not have to worry about delays, weather or missing pieces.Mai-Liis
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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.

    What is your average square foot selling price?

    Prices for a complete home, including foundation vary from $200 sq-ft to over $300 because our homes are all custom built, we can design a home to fit your budget.

    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.