Friday, June 20, 2014

The pro’s and con’s of adding a bunky at the cottage

The pro’s and con’s of adding a bunky at the cottage?

Currently all the rage with cottage owners is to build bunkies or buy the pre-fabricated ones and have them installed on their property. There are pro’s and con’s to adding space by adding a bunky or adding several of them as seems to be the growing trend.


As long as you keep it to 100 sqft or under you do not require a building permit.

They do not require a foundation.

They can be used as a storage space when you don’t have guests to sleep in them.

They give guests a private place to retire too.

You can run electricity to them.

You can buy pre-fabricated ones that are delivered and assembled onsite.

They can be constructed so that they fit the surrounding area and fit into the cottage feel.

Without a building permit you can set them closer to the water then a conventional building that has to be placed back from the high water mark.


Bunkies that are built without building permits cannot have a bathroom in them. Guests would have to either use an outhouse or walk to the main house every time nature calls.

If you have a building permit for your bunky and you put a bathroom in it the cost per sqft will be extremely high as you will have to deal with the waste either through the septic system or some kind of holding tank.

Building a bunky without a foundation will save you money but you still have to excavate the area that it is to be built on so that it is sitting on a level surface, free of organic material under it and has a gravel or sand base.

Most people do not have the skill to build a proper bunky; it’s basically like building a miniature house and thus have to hire someone to do it.

Since most bunkies are small they only usually have one room which means that it is basically a bedroom.

Pre-fabricated bunkies are extremely expensive to buy. It is probably cheaper to have one built by hand on the property.

Because bunkies are a simple structure they are notoriously hard to keep vermin out of; mice, bugs, raccoons and even bears have been known to break in and cause damage. A lot of people find that keeping a bunky clean enough for guests becomes harder than keeping the cottage clean.

A bunky can be a very difficult place to install a fireplace whether it is wood or gas. This means that for heat you have to rely on baseboard heaters which can be expensive and inefficient.

Because of the vermin problem when bunkies are built you must take great care in what you are planning to build them with. You should not be using conventional insulation (fibreglass). You should be using insulation that has a resistance to vermin like hard foam board and other products that resist bugs and mice.

There should be a lot more thought put into a bunky then just framing up 4 walls and a roof if you want people to enjoy it and for it to last.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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