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4 upgrades that dramatically increase your cottage’s value and comfort

Your cottage might be a refuge for summer relaxation, but with the current state of real estate in Canada, even the most humble and rustic lakeside retreat has the potential to be an income property. That means that any upgrade you plan for your cottage has two benefits: not only will it make your weekend abode more comfortable, enjoyable, and easy to maintain, but it will also increase its value as an investment for you and your family.


To help you get the most out of your next cottage or home renovation project, here are four upgrades that can serve both purposes.


Cottage bathroom renovations



If you grew up spending summers at the lake, there’s a good chance your cottage bathroom had a moon carved into its draughty door. Which means that these days, just having indoor plumbing at the lake feels like a luxury. But since new cottage buyers might not have the same hearty spirit honed by late-night trips to the outhouse, upgrading your bathroom is one of the easiest ways to add comfort while increasing your cottage’s value. 

While a cottage bathroom renovation doesn’t differ drastically from upgrading your bathroom at home, there are some extra considerations for a vacation property. Where possible, choose natural materials that blend with the surroundings, and go with neutral fixtures that will be more trend-resistant. And since many cottagers plan to spend more time at the lake as they age, taller-than-standard toilets and grab bars may be a worthwhile addition. Modern toilets with built-in bidets can also help preserve your plumbing and septic system. To get your bathroom reno right, start with a plan based on your specific needs. Toronto-based Easy Bathroom can help you through every step of the project, from 3D rendering to adding fixtures and final touches. Learn more at easybathroom.ca.


In-floor radiant heating



Speaking of more comfortable bathrooms, there’s nothing cozier at the cottage—or at home—than in-floor radiant heating in a tiled bathroom, but that’s just the beginning. Radiant floor heating is the perfect way to add high-efficiency heating to any area of a cottage—especially if you don’t have ducts. Not only is it a more uniform source of heat, but it’s perfect for single rooms, whole homes, and applications like heating driveways, de-icing outdoor stairs and accessibility ramps, and preventing frozen pipes.


By combining an in-floor heating system with a programmable thermostat, you’ll have one of the most efficient, cozy, and maintenance-free heating sources available to Canadians, and by choosing radiant floor-heating from an Ontario-based provider like Heavenly Heat, you’ll be able to tackle the installation yourself with support from their helpful staff. Learn more at floorheatingsystems.com.


Cottage fireplaces


We all love summers by the lake, but for many cottagers, autumn is the true cottage season. The highway is sparse, the leaves are dazzling, and the black flies and mosquitoes are long gone. Even if your cottage isn’t winterized, you’re likely tempted to extend cottage season as deep into the fall as possible. And a fireplace is the perfect way to warm up on chilly evenings after embracing the fall colours on a hike.


Whether you prefer the smokey crackle of burning logs, the convenience of gas, or the clean flame of biofuel, no cottage is complete without a fireplace, and it’s a fixture that will certainly be on the wish lists of future buyers. And to really up the ante of both your curb appeal and your comfort, an outdoor fireplace can help you embrace your deck on crisp cottage nights when the bugs aren’t biting. The experts at Zoroast, the Fireplace Store, can help you plan a fireplace that’s perfect for your cottage. Learn more at thefireplacestore.ca.


Basement waterproofing



Some upgrades are features that you can sit back and admire. Others add to your enjoyment in more subtle ways, whether it’s saving you money in the long run, making your property more valuable, or simply preventing an emergency during the next unpredictable storm. For cottagers who’ve returned home after a rainy weekend away to find their basement flooded—or for those whose home is close to water—basement waterproofing is one of those upgrades that can protect both your property and your peace of mind. And in the worst-case scenario, GTA-based Direct Waterproofing specializes in foundation repair in addition to its waterproofing and sump-pump services. Learn more at directwaterproofing.ca.