Creating a year-round home from a three-season cottage sounds like a great idea. But it can be easier said than done.
After all, older three-season cottages typically lack all the basic elements of energy efficiency today’s building code recommends.
This was the case with a recent GBS Contracting Services project in Muskoka. The property owners wanted to make the cottage their fulltime residence. They knew the roof and siding would need updating – as well as the insulation and a great deal more besides – and were prepared for anything.
“The whole building envelope needed to be reimagined,” says Mike Vettese of GBS Contracting. “From the roof to the siding to the ventilation and everything in between. It needed to be updated to offer the full protection needed for a year-round home.”
They began with reinventing the roof. Rather than tearing off the old roof and replacing it, it made more sense to create a new roofing system over top of the existing roof.
“The old roof had no insulation and extremely poor ventilation – just a single two-inch vent pipe,” recalls Mike. “Before we fixed the ventilation issues with new soffits, if you had heated the place in winter the roof would have been full of ice. Now, this roof will perform to its full potential.”
And the roof itself is as strong as they come. GBS expertly installed a century rib steel roof that has full-length panels and exposed screws. It is a tad more cost efficient than newer steel roofs with hidden fasteners, but the roof will still last a lifetime.
Mike says the only maintenance that will be required is that the screws and gaskets will need to be replaced in about 25 years.
“That’s all that’s going to need to change,” says Mike. “The panels will still be sturdy and strong for many decades.”
When it was time to install the siding, Mike and his team were able to enhance the look as well as the function of the cottage.
The original cottage had abnormal window frames, which protruded from the exterior walls. By building out the walls, they were able to ensure the siding was even with the window frames.
“We took out all the protrusions by installing the siding so it would be flush with the windows,” says Mike. “Not only is this better for energy efficiency but it provides better curb appeal as well.”
By revamping the entire building envelope, Mike is preventing heat loss, ice damming and other moisture-based issues from occurring.
“We’re protecting the bones of your building from the elements,” explains Mike. “A professionally-fitted building envelope will keep your home or cottage warm in the winter and cool in the summer, while preventing an infiltration of moisture.”
To know if your home or cottage has the right protection, Mike offers a few visible warning signs to watch for.
In the winter, the evidence of heat loss is very visible through ice damming, ice build-up, or large icicles on the roof. Also, be aware of water coming through the soffit when it rains, which can indicate trapped heat pockets which will cause ice and moisture issues.
Some of these issues will also be visible in the summer: Mike says to look out for brown staining on the soffits and roof lines, which can indicate areas where ice damming has occurred.
“If you don’t notice any of these things, then you’re probably looking at a good building,” says Mike.
Expert teamIf you do need work done, make sure to hire certified, insured, and experienced professionals.
GBS Contracting Services has been in business since 1999 and are experts at roofing, siding, and other projects. Their team is fully insured, fully trained, and dedicated to the business. Mike says they happily provide references to their clients. He notes that they often get called back to do additional work because the client is so happy with the first project.
“Our team lives in Muskoka and understands the environmental pressures on the buildings in our communities.”
Whether it’s a new roof, new siding, or a building envelope revamp, it’s vital to choose an expert team to get the job done right.
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN