April showers might be keeping us inside, but it won't be for long. The weather is getting warmer and before long, we will be breaking down our doors to enjoy this wonderful time of year!
As you start spending more time outdoors this spring, no doubt your home's flaws will become much more visible. Get your home in shape now.
The siding that is best suited for your home depends on many factors: which style best complements your home, how much maintenance you're willing to do, and the climate.
- Vinyl: Holds up well over time, and can retain its qualities for 40 years or more. It is the least expensive of the siding materials and it offers the most return on investment.
- Wood: With proper maintenance, wood siding will last for many years. Disadvantages include possible mold growth, wood rot, or pest infestation.
- Stucco: Common in the Southwest, advantages include a natural resistance to fire, long durability, and little needed maintenance. It will also give a little insulation quality to your home.
A new roof not only freshens up your home's exterior, it's also the most important part of your home's weatherproofing and insulation system, and can save on heating and cooling bills.
- Asphalt: Stronger, more natural-looking roofing materials have made asphalt roofing a good, economical choice.
- Metal: Usually manufactured in steel, copper, aluminum or stainless steel, modern metal roofing frequently carries a warranty of 50 years.
- Wood Shakes: Tend to be more expensive, but greatly add to a home's appearance.
- Slate: The most expensive roofing option, slate is usually on higher-end homes. It can last 50 years or more, but because it is brittle, it may require more repairs.
- Tile: Tile roofs initially cost a lot more to install than asphalt shingle or wood shake roofs, but they also last much longer, sometimes 50 years or more.
3. Exterior Painting
Painting is a great project because you get a fresh look of new siding without all the expense. However, there are so many things to consider when choosing which color to repaint the exterior of your home. For some people, this comes easily. For others, decorating or changing the exterior of their home is daunting, so here are some tips for choosing exterior paint colors:
- Stay true to the traditional color scheme for your type of home.
A New England Salt Box looks great in blue-gray tones, while Victorian homes can be a variety of colors.
- Preview your home in your chosen color.
Many paint stores now offer computer imaging so you can get an idea of the look of the colors you are considering.
- Choose muted colors rather than brighter tones.
A large area of bright color can have a larger impact than you may want. Check out other homes in your area.
- Look at homes in your neighborhood or in decorating magazines.
If you like a color, ask the homeowner to share the name and brand.
One of the more popular trends in home building and remodeling these days is adding more natural light with more- and larger- windows. Studies show that natural light has a positive effect on our well-being, and adding more windows can open up a house, creating a more spacious-feeling room. Think of how even a little more natural light will brighten up those cold winter days when we are confined to the indoors. And, while many homeowners think of windows as merely functional, they can also provide a key design element in any home.
Some of the newest trends in windows include:
- Tubular skylights: The tubular skylight is more compact and easier to install than regular skylights, and brightens homes more effectively than artificial light. Tubular skylights can also be fitted with internal light kits to double as electric lights at night.
- Passive solar heating systems: Large, southern-facing windows can contribute to passive solar heating design by allowing solar radiation to help heat your home.
- Window glazing: For ultraviolet light protection, glazing can protect home occupants as well as reduce the fading of upholstery and furniture. Glazing also improves a window's insulation.
- Low emissivity coating: Also known as Low-E coating, this reflects heat inside the home during the winter and blocks much of the heat in the summer, which saves money on utility bills.
An overgrown landscape gives the impression of an unkempt home. As one of the most cost-effective ways to customize a home to meet your needs and tastes, good landscaping will add value to your home and enhance your lifestyle. And, after all, landscaping is the first thing a prospective buyer sees when you are seeling your home. You have only one chance to make a first impression!
While there are too many different kinds of landscaping styles and features to mention in an article, follow the same advice as the above with respect to painting. Drive around, find what you like, take some photos, and show that to your landscaping contractor.
So, on a warm Spring day, when there is no place you would rather be than outside, take a long, hard look at the exterior of your property, and give it your special brand of TLC!