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Your dream boathouse begins with a few key questions

Cruise along Muskoka’s shores, and you’ll see a variety of boathouses – from humble single slips to grand multi-bay boathouses, complete with luxurious living quarters, and entertaining space to spare.

While there’s no one way to build a boathouse, MC McLean Contracting’s owner Jason McLean says there are a few key aspects to consider when crafting your dream boathouse design.

“Consider how you want to use your boathouse, and how often,” says Jason who has spent 22 years in the business, building high-quality homes and cottages in Muskoka and beyond. “If you have a four-season cottage, for example, why not design your boathouse in the same way?”

With the right insulation and heating systems in place, there’s no reason to close up your boathouse in the fall, especially if you want to use the space to host family and friends over the winter months. Or you can extend your enjoyment of the boathouse later in the fall and open it earlier in the spring, while keeping the livable space above zero in the cold winter months.

“This helps to protect your investment, too, as the woods and finishes will have less movement.”

Another aspect to consider is the high-water level of your lake, and how to protect your boathouse if the water rises beyond your dock. “The lake levels can vary so much, so we try to plan for the worst case and design with floods in mind.”

Simple changes like crafting 2×10 pressure-treated baseboards with water-resistant wall materials above, building the millwork with marine-grade plywood with a marine-grade epoxy for added protection, and raising the appliances 10 inches off the floor to limit the chance of water damage can make a huge difference for Jason’s clients.

“In every boathouse, there’s a mix of aesthetics and purposeful design,” says Jason. “We want to make sure you love the way your boathouse looks and how it works.”

One of the most important considerations, Jason notes, is where and how you like to entertain, as this can determine every aspect of your boathouse design, from the orientation of the slips to the ratio of outdoor to indoor entertaining space.

Recently, Jason’s team completed a boathouse located in a private cove with a beach for swimming. A simple but critical decision was to place the slips on the opposite side from the swim area. “We wanted to ensure boat traffic will never interfere with swimmers, or detract from the entertaining space,” says Jason. “Regardless of your waterfront’s size, cottage lifestyle, or dream boathouse design, we’re here to help make it a reality.”

www.McLean-Contracting.ca

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