Summer is the perfect time to get outside and take care of home improvement projects you’ve been putting off all winter. If you have older kids at home on summer break, why not keep them busy by putting them to work painting that old fence or clearing brush from flower beds? Exterior home improvements will add beauty and value to your property (and maybe even help you trim your winter waistline).
We break down which summer home improvement projects you can tackle on your own, and which ones you should leave to the pros. When you’re finished, you can celebrate by inviting the whole neighborhood over to admire your handiwork — and your home — at a relaxing cookout.
1. Replace Your Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding is the most popular home covering material in the country. In the Middle Atlantic and New England states, 80 percent and 71 percent of homes, respectively, have vinyl. As Bostonians would say, it’s “wicked popular.” If it’s been a while since you looked at vinyl, you’ll be surprised at the broad menu of options on the market today. Modern vinyl siding comes in a variety of colors and styles, and it can even mimic expensive cedar shakes. It’s also affordable and durable, making it a great choice for any homeowner.
Summer is a great time to replace your home’s siding, but it’s definitely a job best left to the pros. Siding must be measured, cut, and installed perfectly to ensure it doesn’t allow any moisture to make its way underneath the vinyl. Its primary purpose is to protect your home from water. You also want to avoid the rippling and waves you see on poorly installed vinyl siding.
2. Power Wash Your Home
If your siding is in good shape but could use a refresh, why not give it a bath? You can purchase or rent a power washer, but experts say to use caution. Avoid angling the spray upward, as this can direct water toward the spaces between the siding, forcing it underneath. If your home is large or particularly grimy, you may be better off calling a professional. The pros have much more powerful equipment, and they usually have a larger team who can knock out the job in less time. You may have to break out your wallet, but you won’t have to break a sweat.
3. Restain Your Deck
Stripping and re-staining your deck is probably a job you can handle on your own, and it will definitely enhance your home’s beauty. Because it’s a job that takes place entirely outdoors, it’s also among the summer home improvement projects you should have on your list.
Rob Formisano at The Spruce warns to be careful about power washing a deck, as too much pressure can etch the wood and damage the boards. For the best results, use the lowest pressure and work your way up, but go no higher than 1500 psi. When you’re ready to stain, make sure you pick the proper stain for your type of wood.
4. Install an Outdoor Kitchen
If you’re feeling especially ambitious — and you love the outdoors — consider taking your kitchen outside. This gallery of outdoor kitchens from the DIY Network will make anyone drool. Of course, if your budget is a bit more modest, you can go with a premade outdoor grill island or a more basic structure, such as a bar made from reclaimed wood or paving stones. Incorporate natural materials like stone and brick. It’s an outdoor kitchen, after all.
5. Replace Your Windows
Summer is the ideal time to replace your old, inefficient windows. Winter may be months away, but cold weather sneaks up fast, and the last thing you want to deal with is a chilly, drafty house and sky-high heating bills. New windows can also be a great way to kick up your home’s curb appeal. Although adding new windows isn’t generally considered a fun or exciting home upgrade, it can pay off big down the road.
According to a CNBC report, a $10,000 investment in new windows bumped up the asking price of a home by $8,500. Imagine putting an extra $8,500 in your pocket as a homeowner when you sell your house. That’s an 85 percent return on investment, not to mention the money saved on utility bills over the lifetime of your home.
6. Reseal Your Asphalt Driveway
If you have an asphalt driveway, you can extend its lifespan by resealing it. According to Home Advisor, a few different factors dictate how often you should reseal your asphalt driveway. For example, if you live in a climate that gets a lot of rain and snow, your driveway probably takes quite a beating during the winter, and you’ll need to reseal your driveway more often. Likewise, if your area sees a lot of hot, steamy days in the summer, you may also require more frequent sealing. The average is three to 10 years.
Although you can certainly sealcoat yourself, there’s no getting around the fact that sealcoating is a stinky, messy, sticky job. It can also be dangerous, as the tar is extremely hot. The pros who do this work are experts, and they handle the materials every day. They also have the safety equipment to protect their skin and eyes. If your budget is tight, look for coupons and call around for quotes and deals. You may also have luck waiting until the fall when demand (and prices) tend to drop.
Of all summer home improvement projects you can DIY, landscaping is probably #1. Best of all, you can do it on a dime. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas, and you can even look to homes in your neighborhood for inspiration. If you have a brown thumb — or you’re short on design inspiration — even basic beds with mulch and a few hardy green shrubs will look clean and polished in front of your home.
You can add touches of annuals here and there if you want some pops of color. Lack the budget for a professional landscaping service? No problem. Contractor Danny Lipford says less is more when it comes to landscaping. He told Learnvest: “The beauty of minor landscaping is that it requires few yard tools, very little skill, and, in most cases, little time to achieve fantastic results.”
8. Plant a Garden
To indulge in an obvious pun, gardens are a growing trend. According to the National Gardening Association, 35 percent of all American households now have a home garden, up from 17 percent five years ago. People are interested in eating healthier, saving money, and knowing exactly what’s in their food. If you take the time to do it right, a home garden can be a beautiful feature that adds to your home’s value.
Landscaping adds about 15 percent to a home’s valuation. If you like the idea of cooking with fresh ingredients you grow right in your own backyard, it’s worth making an effort to plan your garden as an attractive, eye-catching space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
9. Build a Shed or Outbuilding
Is your garage overflowing with kids’ toys, bicycles, and boxes of old family photos? Did your last two yard sales barely put a dent in the stacks of stuff taking up space in your garage? If your car spends all of its time in your driveway because you literally can’t fit it inside your garage, maybe it’s time for a storage shed or outbuilding. Summer is an excellent time to add a little extra space to your place.
Some homeowners even convert existing storage sheds and outbuildings to home offices and guesthouses. If you’re well-acquainted with a hammer, you can find plenty of free storage shed building plans online and even DIY kits online. Otherwise, big box home improvement stores sell a wide variety of sheds in all shapes and sizes.
10. Replace Gutters
If your home’s gutters are sagging or leaking, they might need to be replaced. Gutters perform the important task of channeling water away from your roof and your home’s foundation. If your gutter system is old, repairing it might just be a matter of putting an expensive Bandaid on a problem that’s never going to get better.
Many homeowners are also pleasantly shocked at how different their house looks with modern gutters installed. Installing new gutters is similar to putting a clean, bright frame on a photo. A new gutter system can dramatically amp up a home’s curb appeal at a very affordable price.
11. Upgrade Your Garage Door
A new garage door can make a big difference in your home’s exterior appeal. Dents and dings from stray basketballs and parking mishaps take their toll. Before you know it, your garage door is looking tired and worn — and even a fresh coat of paint can’t bring back its original luster. So why not replace it? Today’s models tend to offer more security features.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a new garage door is also an excellent investment that provides a 91.5 percent return on investment.
12. Replace Your Roof
If it’s time for a new roof, summer is the time to replace it. Delaying your new roof makes your home vulnerable to extra water damage, which makes leaks and mold worse. Remember that water damage and rot only get worse — it never gets better. The roofing professionals at Nu Look roofing will perform a free in-home consultation and help you review the latest colors and styles that complement your home’s style and architecture.
Call Nu Look Home Design
Want to give your home a whole new look? Call Nu Look Home Design today! We help homeowners add beauty and value to their properties by providing the highest quality roofing, windows, siding, gutters, and doors on the market.