How to Make Your Summer Cottage Habitable All Year Long

How to Make Your Summer Cottage Habitable All Year Long

With our harsh winters, not all cottages in Quebec offer a pleasant living environment in every season.

There are renovations you can undertake to make the space cozier and more comfortable if you would like to use your cottage all twelve months of the year. Here’s a list of what to focus on when transforming your summer getaway into a four-season cottage!

Insulate the Walls

The first step is, of course, to check if the building is adequately insulated. Heating poorly insulated rooms results in energy loss that is as costly for the wallet as it is for the environment. Especially since the atmosphere will feel stuffy because of the humidity which will likely in turn lead to mould in the medium term.

Unfortunately, this may require major renovation work, particularly if it is an old cottage as the walls and roof may not contain enough insulation material.

Change the Doors and Windows

In addition to wall insulation, you will also have to assess the doors and windows’ energy efficiency. Sometimes, replacing the gaskets is all you need to do to make a big difference. But if the doors and windows are past their prime and not doing the job, they must be changed.

To find out, simply run your hand or a thin sheet of paper along the edge to detect potential air leaks.

Patch All Holes

If this hasn’t already been done, don’t forget to fill in any holes or cracks in the foundation. This will both stop unwanted outdoor air from seeping in and, most importantly, small critters from taking refuge inside your cottage when the temperature drops. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when that cure is paying for an exterminator!

Install an Adequate Heating System

If the cottage you own has no heating system, you will have to have one installed. And any system can be suitable whether it be wood, electric or gas. Ideally, you should have an expert come by and get their advice on which is best for your property. They can equally tell you where you should place the components, such as the radiator or the fireplace, to achieve optimal system performance.

Make Sure You Have Access to Utilities

Unless you want to be completely cut off from the world—without internet or television—your cottage must be connected to these services, or you risk becoming bored and restless.

And don’t forget snow removal. You shouldn’t assume it will be easy to find a company willing to make the trek to your cottage. Call around! If your search yields no results, adjust your budget to include the purchase of a snowblower or snow removal tractor. This is indispensable equipment if you hope to leave the cottage every now and then.

Shelter the Front Door

What does your cottage’s front door look like? Typically, summer cottages don’t have very cold-weather-friendly entrances. In the winter, they should be protected from wind and snow for the convenience of arriving residents and visitors alike. You can build a small canopy or purchase a front door shelter, which is widely available at hardware stores.

Inform Your Insurance Company

One final tip: let your insurance provider know about the changes you’ve made to your cottage as well as its new intended use. Depending on your contract’s clauses, you may not be covered for incidents that occur outside the summer months. Your insurance fees may increase, but so will your peace of mind.


Now that all the practical concerns have been addressed, you can move on to transforming your cottage’s decor to create an ambiance that will suit all seasons. For example, add plush materials and warmer colours that will encourage you to snuggle down.

Happy renovating!

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.