Spring Cottage Opening Checklist

Stay ahead of bigger repairs by taking care of these eight hotspots

Hooray! The winter weather is officially over and it’s time to begin weekend treks to your cottage for a fun, adventure-filled summer. Before the good times can begin however, you have to open the cottage up and make the necessary preparations including priming the pump, reconnecting the water and plumbing lines and putting the dock back on the lake.

These aren’t your only priorities. To avoid major hassles in the middle of the summer, other items on your checklist should include:

*Smoke detector Even if you changed the batteries before you closed the cottage for winter, it is best to check to make sure the system—including a carbon monoxide detector— is working effectively.

*Chimney and furnace Make appointments to have your chimney and furnace cleaned. A clean chimney will help prevent the occurrence of chimney fires, while a clean furnace will help allow proper ventilation to occur and ensure a carbon monoxide-free environment.

*Septic It is recommended to have your septic system pumped every two years. Make an appointment to have your septic pumped at the beginning of spring to avoid the bother when the summer officially begins.

*Doors and piers Check all the cottage doors to see if they are scrubbing when you open and close them, and inspect any and all structural piers to determine if they are straight and intact. If the doors are scrubbing and the piers are tilted, it could be an indication that the foundation has shifted due to frost conditions.

EASY FIX! Once the frost is gone from the ground, the foundation should shift back to its original position causing the doors to once again fit as they should within their frames, and straightening out the piers as they should be. However, if they don’t, the doors can be trimmed to once again fit in their designated space where the cottage. As for the piers, they will have to be jacked up, or replaced if they remain misaligned.

*Roof Check the interior ceilings and walls for water stains from melting snow and spring rain to ensure that roof leakage has not occurred.

*Eavestrough Take the time to clean the leaves and debris out of your eavestrough. It will help preserve the integrity of your cottage roof.

*Decks and steps All decks, porches, and accompanying steps should be examined for signs of rot and instability. Don’t forget to check the underside too as rot could be hiding out of sight.

Cottage deterioration occurs with natural wear and tear and exposure to the climate of cottage country. By following this checklist during your preparations for the season, repairs to minor issues can be made before they become major problems, allowing you to enjoy a summer of leisure rather than one hindered by constructional repairs.

For more spring cottage suggestions, check out our blog on Constructing a Superior Screened Porch.

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