If you’ve been dreaming of going to the cottage all winter, well, it’s almost that time. But before you fire up the grill, and take that first jump off the dock – you’ve got the task of opening up the cottage.
Here are a few of the major jobs you want to get out of the way that first weekend up north.
Start From the Top
You probably cleared the eavestrough before shutting down for the season – but one of your first tasks should be to clean out any debris that accumulated over the winter. You want to make sure that water can properly drain away from you home. While you’re on your ladder, it’s a good idea to check the roof for any signs of damage or intruders.
You want to be on the lookout for telltale signs of animals. I’m talking about obvious signs of entry – things like torn window screens, or holes in your soffits. Animals can even pull away siding, or find entry through your chimney or roof venting.
Even a seemingly harmless mouse can cause issues. They will eat away at wood in your home or chew through electrical wires. If you spot any chewed up wires or cords make a call to your local electrician. They need to check your electrical system and make sure it’s safe.
If any critters have taken up space as unwanted tenants, you will also want to bring in a professional pest control expert. Believe me, you want them evicted before they reproduce and cause an infestation.
If you find signs of mice, you will want to spray any area they’ve been with a disinfectant. It’s important to keep those dirty particles from floating around, because breathing in materials from their droppings or saliva can make you sick. Remember to wear a disposable mask and gloves to reduce the risk of contact.
Let Your Home Breathe
Once you’ve checked for signs of pests, it’s time to inspect the interior. Start by opening the windows. The space will need circulation, especially if it was locked up tight all winter long.
Trust your nose. If you notice a strong musty smell, it could mean a moisture problem – and that can lead to mould. You need to stop the source of moisture first, otherwise you’re going to be dealing with mould problems again and again.
For small areas, you can likely clean it yourself as long as you have the proper cleaning solution and safety gear (goggles, gloves, and a respirator or mask), but for large mould infestations, bring in a remediation expert.
Check the caulking around windows and doors and replace any damaged areas. Broken caulking leaves the perfect entryway for water to seep in, and it’s an easy fix. Same with the weather stripping around doors – if it’s damaged it’s simple to fix, but if left unrepaired, you’re leaving an open invitation for water penetration.
Bring Back the Power
When you turn the power back on, take things room by room. Make sure everything is working as it should, and be on the hunt for flickering lights, a burning smell from appliances, or any sparking fixtures.
Next, switch the water back on. Again, room by room, you want to be looking for any leaks. Finally, test your HVAC system, and change the air filter.
Inspect Your Deck
Before entertaining this season – make sure you are checking your deck thoroughly. The railings, steps, and ledger board (the piece of the deck that holds the structure to the building) all need to be safe and secure. You want to see that the decking material is still in good condition with no dry rot, or damage from insects.
Most home inspections will include a deck safety check, so if you’re unsure of what you should be looking at, a licensed home inspector can help point out areas of concern.
Your cottage is your home away from home during the summer – but just because you may only be there on weekends, doesn’t mean you can slack on your regular maintenance. Cottage season goes by so quickly, but treat it like you would your home – make it right, and make it safe.
Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit makeitright.ca.
Source: National Post – Mike Holmes | May 6, 2017