When spring cleaning isn’t enough, there is always spring remodeling.
David T. Price
The harsh winter weather can be hard on the exterior of your house. When the weather starts to warm up, it is time to assess the damage. Keeping the outside of your house in good condition not only has aesthetic benefits, but it is also necessary to maintain the structural integrity and safety of your home.
Here are a few projects ideas we recommend to get your home ready for another summer.
Roof: Now that venturing onto the roof isn’t a major safety hazard, it is a good time for roof repairs.
Check the chimney and roof flashings, replace any missing shingles and (obviously) deal with any leaks. There is nothing worse than worrying about a leaky roof; correcting the problem at the first hint of trouble is essential.
A reputable licensed roofer should be able to determine if there are multiple leaks and can trace the leak back to its source. He should also understand the proper repair procedures, no matter what roofing material you have on your home.
Speaking of chimneys, check the mortar to see if it needs repointing, and now is a great time to call the chimney sweep.
Exterior paint: A fresh coat of exterior paint can do wonders for your house. Color is an excellent way to highlight the most beautiful features of your home.
Skillful use of color can even disguise design flaws, all toward the end of boosting the curb appeal and market value of your home.
When it comes to color choice, a safe bet is to look to nature. Pull colors from the landscape around your house. You will want to choose a color that works well in your neighborhood, so look at your house in the context of its streetscape.
You won’t want to copy your neighbor’s color, but you don’t want to clash with it, either. If you live in a more conservative neighborhood, then bold color choices may not be the best option.
If you live in an older home, consider choosing a historically accurate color scheme. Even the big-box hardware stores can match an old paint chip to re-create the original color, or you can do a little homework to discover the traditional colors of homes during the time period when your house was built.
If you are tackling this project yourself, remember preparation is the biggest part of the job.
Repairing, cleaning, scraping, patching, caulking, sanding and taping all come before the primer even comes out. Don’t skip out on the prep work. If you want your house to look great, hold yourself to the standard you would expect from a professional.
Doors and windows: Give some attention to your doors and windows. Beyond cleaning, adding a new front door will definitely freshen up the look of the house. New Energy Star-rated doors and windows can give you 30 percent energy savings when it comes to cooling your house this summer.
Add insulation: Along the same lines, adding insulation will keep more of your cooled air inside when the summer heat comes. And once the winter cold returns, you will see the savings on the heat bills, too.
Sprucing up the deck: After a winter of snow and rain, your deck probably needs a face-lift. Decks generally require annual attention, which includes three steps: cleaning, color restoration and refinishing.
Once your deck been cleaned, you can return the deck to almost-new coloring with an oxalic acid, a brightening agent sold in many paint and hardware stores. Applying a clear water repellent or wood preservative completes the maintenance.
If you want to maintain the “new wood” color on your deck, try a semitransparent stain. This will slow the wood’s natural aging as it helps to block the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Stain needs to be reapplied approximately every two years.
Front porch: The winter months can be hard on a front porch. Every year, it needs a good cleaning. If you need a little more power behind your cleaning brush, you can consider renting a pressure washer from a home improvement store.
Don’t forget to clean the doorbell. Remove the ice melt and snow shovel, and check out the condition of the door mat.
Once it is cleaned, check the roof. Correctly built, a porch roof is flashed to the wall of the house. This means a piece of bent metal — usually copper or galvanized steel — is placed to run up under the siding of the wall and over the top course of the porch’s shingles. This will keep water from leaking into the roof structure or running down the side of the house. Make sure your roof is properly flashed and the flashing is in good condition.
If you only get to one project, spruce up the front porch. This is the first thing people see when they come to your home. A good cleaning and a new pot of flowers will give your home that touch of spring. Now, we just need the weather to start cooperating.
Architects Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the founders of Renovation Design Group, www.renovationdesigngroup.com, a local design firm specializing in residential remodeling.