You may be able to flee winter, but your home can’t. So if you’re packing up for the season it’s important to make sure every part of your property is winter-proof before heading south.

The frost, ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures that blast off-season cottage country can wreak havoc on your windows and doors. From leaks and structural issues to wood warping and paint damage, it doesn’t take long for mother nature to make her presence felt.

Seasoned homeowners know that you can’t be too cautious when winterizing the house. Prepare now and you won’t have to worry about any unwelcome surprises when you step through the door in spring.

Seal up drafts where present

One of the first steps in preparing your home for winter is assessing its defences. Now’s the time to take care of any suspected leaks before they do lasting damage.

Weather stripping isn’t invincible, nor does it last forever. If your windows and doors have been in place for decades, it’s possible that they’re no longer as weather-resistant as they once were. Proper installation and maintenance can help keep them secure.

Carefully inspect every window and door, applying sealant if necessary. If the situation is too far gone, you might want to consider upgrading your frames and windows.

Watch your wood for warping

A common cause of leaks is warping. This happens when temperatures and humidity levels fluctuate and is especially common with wood products. The wood absorbs the moisture, swells and becomes permanently distorted.

Some types of wood are hardier than others so if you’re upgrading your windows or doors it pays to know your product. Fir, cedar and redwood are all good choices as they’re more water-resistant and therefore less likely to bow or crack.

If your wood frames are already in place, you can protect them by coating them with a winter treatment. There are loads of options on the market for a quick DIY short-term solution.

Over the long-term, you may consider switching up your wood for a more winter-appropriate solution.

Aluminum, vinyl, fibreglass, coated wood – market innovation means you’ve lots of options when it comes to selecting materials that don’t just look good, but are also more winter-hardy.

Don’t overlook the hardware

Conscientious cottage owners don’t just think about frames and panes this time of year. They also pay close attention to the hardware – locks, shutters and screens.

These small details can become big problems. Locks can freeze, shutters can stick, and screens can ice over.

Follow the three Cs to stop damage before it starts:

Check – Unroll your shutters, pull down any screens, peer into your locks. The pre-winter routine should include checking for any damage, holes, or clutter in and around your windows and doors.

Clear – Remove any debris as this can freeze up in winter and lead to iced-over locks and stuck screens.

Clean – Thoroughly wash out your locks and clean your screens to remove any traces of dirt that could ice up and damage your hardware.

A particularly severe winter is coming

The Farmers Almanac is predicting a particularly severe winter for 2021-22, with a ‘winter whopper’ forecast for parts of Ontario and chilly temperatures expected through to late March.

So if you’ve been procrastinating on a repair job or delaying some much-needed maintenance, now’s the time to tidy up and get those jobs done.

The team at Muskoka Windows & Door Centre has helped local homeowners through decades of winters. Our family-owned firm has been a fixture in the Muskokas for generations and no-one knows cottage country like we do. Contact us today so we can help you prepare for whatever winter brings.