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How to update your cottage exterior without breaking the bank

Whether you’re budgeting for a new build or refacing a cottage that’s been in your family for generations, the siding you choose will have a drastic effect on the cost of your project—and on your overall enjoyment of it—for years to come. And while genuine wood siding tops a lot of wish lists, there are more cost-effective ways to achieve the look and feel of wood. There’s no question that a refreshed appearance is the best way to fall back in love with your cottage, but to stay under budget, and to make it a long-term investment, focus on these four factors when planning your exterior overhaul.

Natural appearance

We all crave that “wow” factor when our cottage comes into view as we coast towards the dock. And while we love even the most rustic of cottages, it’s hard to deny the allure of a modern cottage exterior that complements the beauty of its natural surroundings. Genuine wood siding is a classic choice, so long as you appreciate the rustic qualities of real wood and how they can naturally weather over time. .But engineered alternatives can offer a range of colour and stain options that can make any cottage blend or “pop” as you see fit. In particular, Maibec CanExel prefinished siding sports a real-wood appearance thanks to its deep, non-repeating grain patterns, and it comes in 18 colours and four siding profiles. Lighter finishes like Barnwood and the new Scandinavian colour combine rustic looks with modern materials, while darker options like Red Fox, Barista, and new Dark Roast blend perfectly with the hues of the surrounding conifers.

Durability against the elements

Canada wouldn’t be Canada without all four seasonal extremes. But while we get to spend winter indoors by the fire, our cottage exterior is left to the mercy of the elements. Even with a new build, exposure to sun, snow, and moisture can quickly fade your outer walls. And since most of us don’t visit through the winter, that fading can be especially stark when we show up each spring. To contend with cottage-country elements, an engineered wood alternative like Maibec CanExcel uses high-density wood fibre, so it won’t look a shade more grey with each passing year. Perhaps because it’s made in East River, Nova Scotia, where the rigours of Canadian winter are deeply understood, it incorporates layers of heat-cured coatings to resist cracking, warping, and splitting. That means it will still look fresh every time you arrive at the lake, all at significantly less cost.

Minimizing your maintenance

We’ve known plenty of cottagers who’ve built decks, docks, and entire cottages with expensive woods for their touted rot-resistance, only to find that they needed constant upkeep when exposed to the elements. Areas prone to moisture need to be sealed, cracks need to be filled, and in many cases, stain needs to be reapplied every year. And that’s after you go to the effort of cleaning your siding before the snow arrives. If power washing your cottage exterior sounds like a less-than-ideal weekend at the lake, you can mimic the appearance of cedar with an engineered material that won’t break the bank—or your back. Maibec CanExel Ced’R-Vue looks like the real deal, and it’s UV tested in both extreme heat and cold to resist fading in the face of sun, snow, and moisture.

Ease of installation

Chances are, you’re not refacing your cottage on your own. But ease of installation should still be a factor when you’re considering what material to use. Not only does an easy-to-install siding material make for a quicker and less expensive project, but it also means the job is more likely to be done properly. If you’re looking to cut costs by upgrading your siding with an engineered alternative to wood, you may find that many materials have limited installation options that may lead to a dated appearance. But with Maibec CanExel’s new “VStyle” profile, you can choose either vertical or horizontal installation, allowing for a more modern appearance that still captures the grain and other aesthetic elements of real wood without the high cost of materials and installation.

Ready to update your cottage? Learn more about Maibec CanExel’s prefinished siding options.