Cottage Maintenance Guide

Cottage repair work begins the opening-up weekend and lasts the entire season. If we make a maintenance plan and stick to the schedule, the cabin service work can be easily managed and sometimes even enjoyed.

Spring Opening Maintenance

The first round of cabin repairs normally begins the day we arrive to inspect the cottage after the long winter. Ice, snow, and animals all manage to impact the cottage over the winter and inevitably, something needs to be fixed before we can start to enjoy the cottage. Many people wisely use a local service to avoid the work, but for the rest of us, here are some of the things that need to be checked.

Cabin Water System
The cottage water system is normally the first place we look for trouble. If the fall closing of the cabin was done properly, the water system should be fine. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, a bit of residual water in the system sometimes freezes up over the winter and causes problems in the spring. Split water lines, cracked fittings, and damaged water pumps are all possible after a long and cold winter.

The Cottage Opening Tips section has a full checklist of where to look for problems in the water system.

Check out our Cottage Closing Tips page to get all the information you need to winterize the cabin.

Decks and Docks
Once we get the cottage up and running, the maintenance list starts to grow. Window screens often need to be repaired to keep out the mosquitoes, black flies, and deer flies. Damaged deck and dock boards should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid injuries. And any problems with the cottage roof caused by winter winds, ice, or fallen branches must be addressed immediately before they lead to serious water damage that will take up an even larger chunk of our cabin time and summer budget.

The Dock Maintenance and Deck Maintenance pages have good advice on how to look after the cottage dock and deck.

Boats and Boat Motors
Once we are all set up, it is time to put the boat in the water. A quick check of the boat and the motor is essential to ensure the fishing season gets off to a safe start. For those of us who have water-access properties, this stuff is job number one. Taking the time to go through the service checklist is not only wise, but highly recommended, even for those of us who have been doing it for years. Don’t forget to put the drain plug back in!

The Boat Maintenance, Boat Motor Maintenance, and Boat Trailer Maintenance pages all have helpful advice.

Cottage Maintenance and Repairs

As soon as the immediate repair issues are resolved at the cabin, it is time to take care of the ongoing maintenance chores.

Lawnmowers and Chainsaws
The cottage equipment that sits idle all winter often doesn’t cooperate at the start of the cottage season. Lawnmowers and chainsaws may require a bit of TLC to get them going. When they are properly cleaned and stored in the fall, they normally start up right away in the spring, although this isn’t always the case. The pages dealing with Lawn Mower Maintenance and Chainsaw Maintenance have useful troubleshooting tips to help get them running.

Staining Siding and Decks
Along with the deck, cottage siding also succumbs to the wear and tear of the harsh cottage country weather. It is worth the time and effort to apply a fresh coat of stain to the deck and siding every two or three years. This is a great fall project when the bugs are gone and the sun isn’t as hot.

The Staining Tips page has a full list of information on how to stain the deck and siding.

Cottage Tool Kit
Taking inventory of the cottage tools is one of the more enjoyable spring and fall tasks at the cabin. For a list of the tools needed to keep the cottage well maintained, go to the Cottage Maintenance Tools page.

Some people define cottage maintenance as a labour of love. Whether it is more labour than love depends on the person, but keeping at it certainly ensures the cottage will last longer and little maintenance issues won’t become larger, more expensive ones.

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