Buildings must be constructed with thought as to:
- how expensive the building materials are,
- how well the products will suit the style of building you have designed,
- how the building materials will age,
- what kind of maintenance they will require,
- how energy efficient they are
- how they will affect the value of your cottage.
In Muskoka you have cottages that have been here for over a hundred years to help you to judge what materials have long life. Wood is the siding material with which most custom built Muskoka cottages are constructed. Cedar is the best choice when using wood. Because siding is on a vertical plane, not a horizontal plane as decks and docks are, cedar siding lasts years longer than a cedar deck or dock. Many of the old Beaumaris cottages still have their original siding after 70-100 years of Muskoka sun and snow.
Image: Horizontal and vertical clap board siding combined with cedar shingles
Paint or stain are usually chosen to cover the wood. Today, unlike in the past, it is more common to use water based products rather than oil based stain or paint on siding. Dark colours make your cottage disappear into its setting, while lighter colours make your cottage stand out. Colour and type of protective coating for your cottage are two more of the many decisions you will have to make. Cabot has a website that allows you to experiment with different colours on a cottage.
Manmade materials are used by some people when they build. The manmade siding choices are cement board (Hardee Board is one brand of cement board), vinyl, or aluminum. These products often do not require paint or stain as they come pre-coloured. Research the range of colour choice before you finalize your decision to use a particular product. The pros and cons of these materials should be well researched before you make a choice. Your Architect can give you a lot of information about each of them.
Image: Fishscale cedar shingles in gable
When choosing manmade materials, consider how well they will adapt, not only to the siding, but to the exterior trim that you plan for your cottage. Consider whether you can trim a manmade material with wood, or whether this combination will not work well. Some manmade materials are more difficult to build with, increasing the labour costs, sometimes wiping out the cost savings of the original purchase price. Discuss the labour costs of using certain materials with your architect and builder before you make the decision to purchase them.