Low-Maintenance Cottage Strategies Halifax NS
Low-Maintenance Cottage Strategies
- Composite Deck Materials
- Wood Siding
- Low-maintenance Strategies
Many Canadians dream about owning a country cottage, but the reality is often a disappointment. When it’s all said and done, “too much work” is how many cottagers describe their ownership experience. And that’s especially unfortunate nowadays, since attractive, low-maintenance building strategies have never been more plentiful. The trick is creating a low-maintenance cottage that doesn’t look like something transplanted from the suburbs.
And as it turns out, the biggest maintenance challenges almost always involve wood. Most people are surprised at how much ongoing attention it demands when used outdoors, and that’s why you need to use it sparingly as part of any low-maintenance cottage exterior.
Composite Deck Materials
All this is why composite deck materials are worth looking at as substitutes for:
- veranda floors
- outdoor furniture
They save so much work and hassle. They also look pretty good. Modern composites are typically a 50/50 blend of wood fibers and plastic. This material is coming down in price, too, and looks pretty good in any natural setting.
If you’ve got your heart set on some kind of wood siding for your new cottage or addition -- and aren’t about to let some newspaper guy talk you out of it -- then consider cedar shingles as an exterior siding option.
- Nothing compares with the durability and long-term good looks of this kind of wood.
- I’ve even seen 80-year old cedar shingles still holding back the weather on walls and looking terrific without ever being maintained since new.
There are other strategies that let you walk the fine line between lakeside good looks and a low-maintenance leisure lifestyle:
- Softwood interior floors with a tung oil finish
- Mortarless brick siding
- Biannual applications of zinc-based wood preservatives on rot-prone outdoor locations
- A submersible water pump for flick-it-on springtime water system activation.
Leisure-boosting building strategies are out there, and just because they’re modern doesn’t mean they’ll turn lakeside living into the nightmare of suburbia gone berserk.
- Avoid Wooden Soffit and Fascia
- Masonry Maintenance
- Maintenance-free Wood Finish
- Underground Electrical Services
It’s all those little maintenance traps that add up and determine your country cottage fate. Keep low-maintenance design goals front-and-centre and you’ll spend more time on a lawn chair instead of a ladder.
Avoid wooden soffit and fascia
- Even on “natural looking” structures, wood in these locations is visually unnecessary and a pain to maintain.
- Colour-matched aluminum soffit and fascia looks good in all situations, is relatively easy to install, and doesn’t create ongoing maintenance slavery.
Treat all masonry with water repellent every two years
- Doing this little bit of work diligently saves much larger and more expensive repairs later.
- Water expands and causes deterioration when it soaks into concrete, brick and mortar before freezing.
- Preventing absorption lengthens the working life of all masonry surfaces by decades. It’s a very good deal.
Consider a maintenance-free wood finish
Finishing and refinishing wood in the usual way has its place, though the activity doesn’t rank high on the list of reasons to own a cottage. A unique one-time wood finish I’ve used with success is a Canadian product called Lifetime Wood Treatment (www.valhalco.com; 205-538-5516.
- It comes as a powder that you mix with water and spray or slosh on to wood.
- It darkens the wood by chemical reaction, and inhibits rot.
- It’s non-toxic.
- The product has proven its worth in over ten years of use in various Parks Canada installations.
- Enough powder to make a gallon of solution costs about $20.
Underground electrical services are better, safer
- Although they do cost slightly more than aerial wires, underground electrical service lines are worth considering when major renovations are in the works.
- Not only does it look better, but it’s also safer and more reliable.
Need a local, pre-screened expert to help you build a timeless, low-maintenance cottage? Find them on casaGURU.