Summer is the perfect time to take care of outdoor home improvements to add beauty and value to your property. For families, it’s all hands on deck, keeping older kids busy with easy projects adding a new coat of paint to the old fence, or clearing brush from the flower beds.
Some home improvement projects you can save money and do yourself. Others, you’ll need to hire a professional.
Just a word of caution. This is a busy time of the year for our tradesmen, and we don’t have as many as we used to. Contact them as early as possible to get your job on their schedule.
These home improvement trends are all the rage right now.
Paint your wood siding.
If you have wood siding, consider freshening it with a new coat of paint. This can be a tedious, demanding job, so be sure doing this job yourself is a good idea before you start. Shop around. Get bids and references before choosing your painting contractor.
If you have the time, the skills, and the stamina, this is a project you can do yourself. Or make it a family affair. With supervision, even the little kids can feel important helping out with this project for small tasks in areas close to the ground.
We just have some rules to follow if you decide to paint your house this year.
- First, make sure you don’t have lead paint. If your home was painted before 1978, it is likely to contain lead. If you’re unsure, contact a local lead-safe certified renovation contractor for testing and removal. Don’t risk your family’s health by releasing lead dust or chips.
- Opt for top-quality paint, primer, and caulking compound. Sure, you may save yourself some extra money upfront by buying the cheaper stuff, but with house paint, you get what you pay for. Usually, cheaper means you’ll have to do it over sooner, and you may not like the covering.
- Take off the old paint first. Wash the surface, remove loose, flaking paint with a scraper, and sand off stubborn loose paint and smooth out the surface.
- Caulk the joints and let the caulk dry before you apply primer.
- Use a high-quality alkyd primer for your base coat over bare wood or metal.
- Apply two finish coats with your high-quality paint after the primer. When the first coat becomes tacky, apply the second coat.
- Rent an airless sprayer to help you get an even coating and save time. Back-roll it by hand with a roller to make sure it sticks.
- Choose days with an ideal temperature between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Purchase enough drop cloths or sheeting to cover everything else. Overspray and splatter will happen.
Replace Vinyl Siding
If your house has vinyl siding that needs replacement, this is a job better left up to the pros. Poorly installed vinyl siding will have ripples and waves. While vinyl siding is often inexpensive and low maintenance, it is easy to end up with spaces that allow moisture into your home. A professional contractor will be able to make sure it’s measured, cut, and installed perfectly.
Give your home a bath.
If your siding doesn’t need to be painted or replaced, giving it a good power wash can help brighten its appearance and add to its life. For homeowners who rent or buy a power washer, care is needed not to force water underneath the siding. If the house is too large or grimy, leaving the power washing up to the pros is recommended.
Spruce up your deck.
A fresh coat of stain on the deck will help give it a clean look and help reduce cracks and splinters. Regular maintenance of keeping your deck clean and touching up with a little wood brightener and lightly coating with stain will help keep it beautiful throughout the year.
Tips for Staining Your Deck:
Preparation is key
a) Make sure your deck is clean, but be careful of power washing it because too much pressure can damage it. Use the lowest pressure and work your way up. A palm-type sander will remove the extra stubborn small stains that won’t come off during cleaning.
Use a brightener
a) Wood brighteners help open up the surface of the wood, neutralize any stain strippers you used, and help old wood look new again. Spray them on, wait a few minutes, and rinse them off.
Use high-quality stains.
a) Stay away from the cheap stuff if you expect it to last—it’s as simple as that.
Consider water-based deck stains.
a) These stains used to have a bad rep, but air quality regulations have forced manufacturers to improve these products. Some are better, more durable, and longer lasting than conventional oil-based alternatives.
Read the labels.
a) Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before you start.
Use semi-transparent wood stain.
a) These stains allow the wood’s natural grain to show through and let the wood breathe. They’re easy to clean and reapply. Only apply as much stain as the wood can easily absorb to avoid dealing with messy peeling later.
Add a shed.
Need storage or a workspace in your backyard? Add value to your home by building a shed. Building codes and ordinances vary by location, so you’ll have to check with your local authorities.
You can build the shed if you have the know-how and desire. Otherwise, this is a job you can hire a contractor for or use a pre-built kit. They’re easy for beginners or people who are short on time, but the drawback is that they can’t be easily customized.
Your local building codes and climate will determine what types of foundations you can use. Usually, the foundation can be a wood floor platform resting on top of concrete blocks set on crushed stone.
Whether you’re adding storage space or building a backyard hangout, a shed can add appeal to your home and help increase its resale value.
Add a garden to your yard.
Gardens are a growing trend, thanks to the wake-up call people have had over the last few years about food shortages and distribution issues. People want to eat healthier, save money, and know exactly where their food comes from.
A well-tended garden will beautify your home and add to its value. Before you start planting, plan out your garden to be as attractive and eye-catching as possible. Add features and components from the marketplace that makes it functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Add an outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor kitchens are growing in popularity. Some of the appeal is because they can be designed to help cut energy costs. Another reason is that we started paying more attention to our homes during lockdowns and learned to enjoy entertaining at home more.
Ideas for your outdoor kitchen:
- Spruce up that paved patio by adding a pergola, barbeque grill, stove, and seating for outdoor entertaining.
- Add an outdoor cooking area and dining setup on large decks.
- Outdoor kitchens make terrific add-ons to outdoor pools and function as a swim-up bar.
- Add a patio to your backyard for an outdoor kitchen.
- Turn that pergola into a backyard kitchen. Go for simple or extravagant with this one.
- Short on space? Use bar seating instead of a dining area.
- Use brighter, stronger lights in the cooking area and decorative lights in the eating area.
- Outdoor rugs add texture and beauty to your outdoor kitchen.
Replace inefficient windows.
Most homeowners will put off replacing windows until something goes wrong, but with the high energy costs today, one of the best home improvements you can make is installing new windows.
Heating bills keep rising, and the new windows will cost you a bit upfront, but they’ll pay for themselves in time. Installing new windows is also one of the best ways to spruce up your home’s curb appeal and add to your home’s value.
It’s possible a $10,000 investment in new windows now will lead to substantial savings in energy over time and add as much as $8,500 to your home’s value.
Replace old, faulty doors.
Just as inefficient windows add to energy costs, so do exterior doors that are past their prime. If your door is still solid and functional, consider repainting it.
If your exterior door is no longer sturdy or appealing, it’s time to install a new weathertight door. Often, it’s as simple as getting a new one of the same size, and installation is simple.
Replacement doors come pre-hung in a weather-stripped frame. Shop around and find the one that’s attractive for your home. Remember, the front door is the introduction to your house.
Interior doors wear down, dull, and become unattractive over time. Consider painting or staining your interior doors to spruce them up. Upgrading your door handles will often brighten up your home’s interior much more than you’d expect.
Interior room painting
The best times to schedule home redecorating projects are nice weather days when you can have the doors and windows open. Redecorating your home interior is a great way to brighten it up and increase your home’s value.
Tips for coloring your walls:
- Keep wall colors light and neutral for decorating flexibility.
- Match your color schemes to your furniture.
- Choose finishes for an appealing visual effect.
- Match a room’s color to the feeling that room should evoke.
- Consider using two different colors in the same room for a bold look.
- Use wainscoting to provide contrast.
- Add an accent wall to create a focal point.
- Consider your ceiling as a fifth wall.
Clean your gutters.
Protect your home by keeping your gutters free of debris and in good condition. Winter weather takes a toll on your gutters and downspouts.
Ignore them, and you may end up replacing them altogether, or worse. You could end up with severe foundation damage to your home and have a costly repair bill. Other damages can include interior flooding, driveway cracks, and landscape erosion.
To clean your gutters, you need:
- A gutter cleaning attachment for your garden hose.
- A ladder.
- A bucket.
- A gutter scoop.
- Heavy-duty gloves.
Consider installing a gutter guard if you live in a space that gets a lot of leaf litter and debris from neighboring trees.
The average price for having your gutters cleaned is around $0.80 per linear foot. The average cost to replace your gutters varies from $2.80 to $25 per linear foot.
Don’t forget your HVAC
Cleaning and replacing the filters on your HVAC system is critical to maintaining energy efficiency, home safety, and family health. Dirty filters will circulate dust, mold, and other allergens throughout your home.
Turn your house into a home in which you’ll enjoy living and entertaining with these summer spruce-ups. When you pay attention to your home maintenance, you not only make your property more attractive, you increase its value.
Imagine being able to sell your home for an extra $10,000 just because you decided to give it some extra TLC before anything went wrong.
Take the time to maintain and improve your home, and practice safety. Use the right equipment, don’t cut corners, and wear the proper gear.
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