Home Renovation on the Exterior
Maintaining your home’s exterior will go a long way in keeping the house looking great, and there are plenty of things you can do to boost your home’s appearance and curb appeal. From simple to elaborate, here are some appearance-enhancing steps homeowners can take to suit both their needs and their budget.
Present your best side
There are many choices to change or improve your home’s exterior, from repainting the existing siding to stripping the exterior and starting over with new materials. Brick, stone, stucco, fiber cement siding and vinyl siding are common materials found on Atlanta’s houses. “Today’s options in home exteriors include cladding and masonry veneers that are beautiful to look at as well as functional in terms of installation and responsible building, from energy efficiency to moisture management,” says Ken O’Neill, senior vice president of marketing for Belgard Hardscapes in Atlanta, www.belgard.biz.
In addition, homeowners will find even more options within each category of material. “For example, there are numerous options for style and color of brick, but a popular choice today is to paint the brick,” says Roone R. Unger, president of Exovations in Cumming, www.exovations.com. “Stone offers many different sizes, colors and patterns. Both fiber cement siding and vinyl siding are available in different lap exposures as well as shake and board-and-batten styles.”
To expand style options, PJ Haberstock, residential sales manager with Boral Building Products in Atlanta, www.boralbricks.com, says he’s starting to see a trend of multiple products used on the home exterior, with as many as three or four different ones being used together.
Given all these choices, selecting which materials to use on your home could be overwhelming. For guidance, Haberstock recommends relying on the home itself. “The architecture of the home can guide the homeowner on what to use,” he says. Maintenance and upkeep also could dictate what materials to put on the home’s exterior. “If you are looking for very low maintenance, then brick or vinyl siding would be a good choice,” Unger says.
Another relatively quick and easy way to improve your home’s curb appeal is by changing the look of the front door. Repainting the front door allows homeowners the opportunity to dress up the home’s exterior. “People are getting a little more brave with a splash of color on the front door,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, www.sherwin-williams.com. “They are showing more of their personality.”
Replacing the front door altogether can completely alter a home’s exterior. “One of the most popular door replacements is removing the standard door with sidelites and replacing it with a double door,” Unger says. “The other very popular style is the Craftsman door. This style is available in wood or fiberglass. Fiberglass doors are a great option due to the fact they look like wood doors yet require less maintenance and do not expand and contract like wood doors.”
If your garage faces the street, replacing your garage door can also improve your home’s appearance. “Replacing that old wood panel garage door with a carriage-style garage door will make a huge difference in the overall look of a home,” Unger says. “Carriage-style doors look great on any style home, and they come in many options with and without glass and can be made of wood or steel.”
Drive it home
Although we use it daily, we never think of the driveway as an integral part of our home’s exterior. On the contrary, this lane could actually provide a big boost to the overall curb appeal of the house. “It is part of the first impression made on a visitor, and it’s an element that can help differentiate your home from your neighbor’s,” O’Neill says. “The shape of the driveway can complement the lines of your home, and the pavers used to make that shape–along with patterns within the driveway–add a design aesthetic.”
Thanks to the many options available in pavers–styles, shapes and sizes–homeowners have a lot of design flexibility for their driveway, O’Neill says. “You can create a look of cobblestone, natural stone or brick with concrete pavers, and because they’re made of concrete they require far less maintenance than other hardscape materials,” he says.
Top things off
Another overlooked architectural feature of the home, the roof also can be dressed up to improve your home’s curb appeal. Many homes come with standard builder-grade three-tab shingles; however, these can be changed out to something that really makes an impact, including architectural dimensional and designer asphalt shingles.
“There are numerous options for designer asphalt shingles that give the look of wood shakes, slate and even clay tile,” Unger says. “The cost differences from an architectural shingle to a designer shingle will range from 15 to 35 percent, depending on the style and color. The other options available are cedar shake, slate and clay tile.”
Add some extras
To dress up your home’s exterior and curb appeal, look beyond the existing frame to some new additions. “Consider distinctive features to accent and accessorize the front of your home, such as building a custom mailbox, pillars or gated entry using similar materials as you used in your driveway and walkway,” O’Neill says.
Adding a front porch is yet one more way to reinvent your home. “Porches are becoming a really beautiful focal point and becoming an extension of the home’s interior,” Jordan says.
Even window replacement can help change the look of a home, Unger says. “Most homeowners don’t consider going from a double-hung window to a casement window or changing the grid pattern in the windows to achieve a different look to their home,” he adds. “The best designs are typically in the details.”
Regardless of which approach you take to improve or upgrade your home’s exterior and curb appeal, keep two things in mind. “Transforming your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to be a monumental project,” O’Neill says. Also, “a home improvement project doesn’t have to be completed at one time.” Although it’s important to come up with an overall design plan so the improvements are cohesive, you can take time to turn your plan into reality to make sure it fits your budget and your life.