There are few things as rewarding, and potentially frustrating, for homeowners as taking on a home exterior makeover. There are many advantages of remodeling your exterior, from increasing value in preparation for sale to simply turning your house into a home you'll be proud of. However, it's all too easy to get excited and jump into a remodel without carefully planning ahead. The end result is often unplanned expenses and potential disappointment.
Simplify the process and enjoy yourself more by following these 13 tips and ideas for tackling your own home exterior makeover project.
1. Create a Plan and Stick to It
The worst mistake is to rush into an exterior remodel without a plan. Plan for the big picture of what you'd like your exterior to look like, then start small. Determine which projects are the most important and start there. For example, if your roof is already leaking or your siding is damaged, focus on that first. Hiring a contractor as a consultant can help you find out what areas of your exterior should be a priority.
2. Drive Around Your Neighborhood for Ideas
Perhaps one of the most useful ways of gaining insight into what you might like your new exterior to look like is to drive around your neighborhood. Do a little sightseeing and take notes on what seems to be popular in the area. You certainly don't need your home to be a cookie-cutter copy of everyone else's, but blending in with the overall style of the region looks attractive and can help if you decide to eventually sell.
3. Focus on High ROI Projects First
If your home's exterior doesn't have major problems, then consider focusing on high ROI projects first. ROI, or Return On Investment, projects will be those that have the best cost vs value when it comes to selling your home. Examples of high ROI exterior projects would be new siding, a classic wood deck, or an inviting new entrance door.
4. Don't Overestimate Your DIY Abilities
Although there are plenty of DIY projects that a family handyman can take care of, be sure you don't overestimate your abilities, or those of a loved one trying to help out. More often than not, a DIY project ends up being just as expensive as if you had hired a pro. Not only will you have spent as much or more money doing it yourself, but you'll also have invested a lot of your own time and possibly end up with a less-than-professional result.
5. Hire a Contractor Experienced with Your Style
Any professional, reputable contractor will likely be able to help you with your needs, but try and pick one that tends to work on the same exterior style you want for your home. If the vision you have for your exterior is rustic and western, chances are a contractor who specializes in modern or minimalist styles could struggle. Take a peek at prospective contractors’ website galleries and go from there.
6. Look for Ways to Increase Energy Efficiency
Every homeowner can clearly benefit from lowered HVAC bills. You can lower the costs of running your house while also giving your exterior a facelift in a few different ways. Replace aged or damaged siding and roofing with new materials (more on that below). Select a new entrance door that is beautiful but also insulated. Don't forget about your window and door frames. Replace weather stripping and repairs any holes or cracks.
7. Consider Seasonal Weather Limits
Spring and early fall are great times to plan for remodeling and general exterior projects. Temperatures during these times are warm but not uncomfortably hot or cold. Spring is a great season for installing decks, as the ground is dry, but still soft enough to be easily dug compared to summer or fall. However, other projects might benefit from high heat, such as roofing (higher heat = proper sealing).
8. Install Soffit and Fascia to Improve Your Roof
Want to keep your home cooler in the summer while also giving it an attractive finishing touch? Fiber cement soffit and fascia should be considered a must-have for a properly designed roof. Soffit is the siding located under the roof eave while fascia is the board along your roof's edge. Fascia is a great finishing touch when it comes to curb appeal, but soffit keeps moisture and pests from getting into your roof or attic. Vented soffit also allows for air flow into the attic, which cools the home by preventing heat buildup and also helps prevent ice dams in the winter.
9. Invest in Professional Landscaping
Unless you happen to have a green thumb, it's best to leave initial landscaping to a professional. After the initial landscaping is done, be sure you properly maintain it or hire a service to do so. Strongly consider having your landscaper include native plant species when possible, as they help the environment and reduce maintenance needs. You may also consider limiting the size of your lawn to reduce watering and mowing needs, as well.
10. Ensure a Balance Between Aesthetics and Function
Focus too heavily on the looks of your exterior, and end up with a high-maintenance, expensive home to care for. Focus too heavily on function, and you instead might end up with a home that is too utilitarian and anything but welcoming. Find a balance between both and you'll end up with a home that is dripping in curb appeal, but also offers functional benefits.
11. Replace Old Siding with Something Superior
Think twice before replacing old wood or vinyl siding with the same material. Wood is high-maintenance and vinyl is apt to crack and peel over time. Since you'll already be removing the siding, kick these materials to the curb for good and opt for fiber cement siding instead. Not only does it come in a variety of colors, but you'll also get a much longer life from your new siding with the most minimal effort on your part.
12. Quality LED Lighting Adds Instant Appeal
LED lighting is cost-effective and surprisingly easy to install. The average homeowner, even someone that isn't super handy, can likely install their own LED lights throughout the home's exterior and/or landscaping. Solar lights are an excellent choice as well, particularly if you live in a climate that gets plenty of sun. Consider installing LED lights on staircases, exterior walls, under deck railings, and along walkways.
13. Be Prepared to Deal with Waste and Scraps
Unused building materials like extra siding and decking can often be returned to the store, sold through online classifieds, or simply given away. But be prepared to dispose of any old materials, scraps, and general trash that comes with a remodeling project. Chances are high that you may very well need to rent a dumpster.
With careful planning and keeping these tips in mind, you'll avoid unnecessary problems, stay on budget, and achieve your dream home exterior with far fewer obstacles.