The first home exterior game changer typically occurs in the spring after we have all sat inside all winter and dreamed of the possibilities we wanted to change once the first sign of warm weather occurs. For most home owners, time and money are a huge factor in all that we complete during those few short months of "Spring Cleaning." Then summer arrives, always faster than we would like for it to, and some of our "to dos" get pushed to the curb. Fall is a great time to follow up on what we didn't finish in the beginning of the year. Some people are thinking of the guests they plan to entertain for football games, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas Holidays. This brings me to my topic: Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home. It is something we all should think about, whether we are looking to add curb appeal for resale value or just want to make our homes more appealing for ourselves, family, and friends.
In a recent issue of Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine, an article by Alma E. Hill listed five top ways to add curb appeal to your home: 1) remove weeds from planter beds and add new mulch and borders, 2) repaint the house, 3) repair porch railings, 4) repair cracks in the driveway, and 5) replace a damaged roof with a new one. I couldn't agree more. Sometimes the smallest of changes makes a dramatic impact. Just "cleaning" your exterior and minor landscaping can add pizazz to a dull, dirty, dingy outside. I recommend that you pressure wash your home exterior yearly to maintain a fresh look. This helps prevent from mold and mildew building up on exterior surfaces that do not see much sunlight. However, do not pressure wash your roof, event if it has stains or mold spots. Pressure washing your roof removes the granules that compose your roofing shingles and can lead to major roof shingle damage. If you notice mold spots, you can spray an application of bleach and water on the area and let it sit. Simply wash it off with water from a hose and skip using a pressure washer. (This article has great information on cleaning fiber cement siding.)
After your exterior has been cleaned and looks nice and tidy, make your "to do list" based on what you see. Maybe your paint is flaking or chipped? Maybe a few boards need to be replaced here or there. It's easier to evaluate what is damaged and not just dirty once you have given your exterior a thorough cleaning. Repainting your exterior is a daunting task, but you may only need to touch up the trim. If you are ever in question, it's always best to seek the advice of a professional. Changing the color of your trim, garage doors, front door, or shutters can create an intense change that is easy and cheap to do. If you are really feeling bold, consider changing colors, patterns, and textures of your home's exterior for a thrilling transformation. The possibilities are endless, and sometimes simple changes can result in a significantly different look. For example, if you home is clad in lapboard siding, you might consider adding a shingle siding detail just to your gables, or around a bay window. There are several free websites that allow you to visualize the changes that are possible. If you are considering a major renovation, you might even want to enlist the aid of an architect and see an architectural rendering of the changes before you commit to a remodeling project. EXOVATIONS offers this service, providing ExoVisions that help homeowners see their home's new look before the remodel begins. There are also many sites available to browse existing homes to seek ideas from such as Pinterest and Houzz. Capture anything that catches your eye or appeals to you.
Lastly, fall is the time to attend home shows to get more ideas and make connections with the local professionals that offer the services you need. At these home shows, many of the exhibiting companies set up displays that showcase their offerings so you can see material samples, before and after photos, and even scale models of their work. Meet their staff, ask for references, and always check reviews from sites such as Kudzu, Angie's List, and Google Plus to see what their customers thought of their process, products, and pricing.