Read This Before Starting Any Exterior Renovation
Each year, American homeowners spend a minimum of $10K on their home renovation projects! The price only goes up from there, especially when dealing with costly window and siding replacements.
In order to keep costs low and receive the best quality material and installation services you can afford, it is best to go into the fray armed with a bit of information regarding the types, benefits, and costs of each aspect of your project.
Have a look at this comprehensive checklist of materials and options to beautify your home, covering everything from siding to soffits.
The Advantage of Seamless Aluminum Gutters
The popularity of seamless aluminum gutters is widespread for a good reason.
Just as the name implies, these water irrigation systems for the home come as a single piece, custom fit to your home. Without breaks in the construction a seamless aluminum gutter will operate, free of leaks, and are often guaranteed for up to five years.
The aluminum construction also adds value due to aluminums natural resistance to rust in all weather conditions.
The only real drawback to a seamless gutter will be the initial cost of installation. Prices can be a bit higher because of the need of special machinery required to fit the gutters to your home.
Still, many are willing to pay the added cost in order to enjoy years of maintenance free protection from rain and moisture invading their homes.
When all is said and done, you just need to take a look at your budget and see what is best for you. If seamless is out of your price range, or you are just looking to spruce up a rental property, or investment, then the cheaper alternative of sectional gutters will also deliver top-notch performance.
They will simply require a bit more hands on maintenance in order to prolong their functionality.
Do You Need Replacement Windows?
If the eyes are the windows to the human soul, then windows are the eyes of any home. No home makeover would be complete without replacing older, inefficient windows with today's more advanced options.
When faced with the decision to repair or replace, many homeowners are at a loss. The thing to remember is that older wood windows were made likely made from old growth wood.
Contractors understand that older wood means "better" wood, and if the sills and jams of your framing are still sound, then you may only need to replace the windows and not the entire window from the frame out, which can raise costs significantly.
Modern windows are put together using new growth woods that simply aren't as weather resistant, or durable. Even after only ten years, or so, significant decay can occur from pests and moisture.
One of the most efficient and modern styles homeowner opt for are double and even triple pained vinyl replacement windows. These windows, commonly created from vinyl, are solidly constructed.
These energy efficient windows help to save on heating and cooling, as well as adding a beautiful touch to the aesthetic of your home.
The Importance of Quality Siding
The importance of dependable, well maintained siding on any building's exterior should never be undervalued. Think of it as to your home what your skin is to your body. You just won't last long without skin, just like a home won't last without its protective outer layer.
Exterior siding products protect walls from everything Mother Nature can possibly throw its way including heavy rain, high wind, and insects.
Let's review three of the most popular choices many homeowner select when it comes to protecting their most valuable investment.
The Benefits of Vinyl Siding
Vinyl comes as a composite of two PVC layers fused into planks. The outside is designed to be durable to combat the effects of the elements, while the inner facing surface is not so weatherproof.
The reason for the difference is to keep the cost of manufacturing low, and has no bearing on the performance of the product. This makes it one of the most cost effective siding designs.
On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $3.50 to $7.00 per square foot depending on the look and quality you choose.
- Vinyl retards the onset of rot due to weather and pesky bugs that destroy unprotected homes.
- The color of vinyl is blended throughout the material ending the need for repeated painting, and maintenance.
- The only real maintenance required is to spray it down with a pressure washer, or garden hose to keep the dust and dirt from collecting and dulling the finish.
- It is rare, but high winds can often loosen the material and can sometimes cause issue with fitting.
- Constant, or excessive exposure to heat and cold can eventually warp, and crack thinner grades of siding..
- In areas known to have persistent high moisture levels, there are sometimes issues with mold forming behind the planks.
Is Vinyl Siding the Right Choice for You?
There are a lot of good reasons to choose vinyl. Easy to install and maintain, if installed by a seasoned professional many of the cons can be eliminated.
Here are a few points to consider when considering this highly durable and inexpensive product.
- No need to paint every 5 years.
- Low maintenance, and cost efficient solution to siding
- Do not consider if you are intending to sell your home anytime soon, as it adds little to no increased value to a home.
The Popular Aesthetic Wood Siding
Wood is another excellent siding choice for many consumers. It adds a sense of rustic ambiance and provides a country living feeling to a home.
It also comes in many different wood grain patterns, can be stained to suit, and even be painted over.
If this is more your taste you should expect to pay around $3.00 to $10.00 per sqft.
Check out these benefits and drawbacks of the natural look of wood siding.
- The warm, natural look of real wood
- Comes in many choices of wood grain and type
- Can be painted, or stained to suit
- Easily installed just like vinyl
- One drawback to wood siding is that it will require some sealing at least once a year to maintain longevity
- Insects and mold can take hold in improperly sealed areas.
- Wood is not considered the best alternative when it comes to insulating factors
Wood siding might be the right for you if:
- You're looking for that warm country feeling
- Your home has historic value and you want to keep the original aesthetic
- Your looking for an environment-friendly solution to home siding
Brick and Stone: A Longer Lasting Siding Replacement Solution
Brick and stone siding is the number one choice for those who are looking for siding that will endure the test of time the longest.
A great insulator, it will lower many utility bills, but may take longer to get to your ROI because it requires the skills of trained professional masons making it more costly to install.
Consider these price points before deciding:
- Brick siding will run you around $9.00 to $12.00 sqft.
- Brick veneer is another alternative and comes in about $11.00 to $15.00 sqft.
- The stone option is even more expensive at $15.00 to $30.00 sqft.
Aside from being much pricier than other options, brick, and stone has some other positives and cons to look into.
- Long lasting performance
- A great insulator
- Refined aesthetic
- Resistant to fires and insect damage
- Practically requires zero maintenance
- On the higher end of the pricing index.
- Requires strong structural architecture to be installed
- Creates increased burden on the inner framework due to weight
Is Brick or Stone Worth the Extra Cost?
Despite the higher cost, brick and stone can add value to property and last a lifetime.
Choosing this siding option is a good option only if these elements are important to you:
- You're looking for a quality, luxurious, and natural appearance
- You need a durable siding that will last a lifetime
- You have the time to invest to regain the expense of installation through lowered heating and cooling costs.
Lower Heating and Cooling Costs with Home Insulation
It may surprise you to learn that an improperly insulated home can lose up to 60% of its energy through the walls and attic spaces. That makes it an important aspect of any home renovation project.
When looking for the best quality insulation for your home, or out buildings you should become familiar with the R-values. R-values are the method by which insulation is rated for efficiency.
The rule of thumb is, the higher the R-value the higher the energy efficiency. Keep in mind that just like everything else in today's economy, insulation with higher R-value will be more expensive, but well worth the price when it comes time to turn on the heat, or air conditioning.
There are around ten different types of insulation for a homeowner to choose from and it is always a good idea to consult with a professional regarding which type will best fit your needs.
Even if you plan a DIY project, it is important to do some thorough research. There are many tips and important factors to consider before just slamming up some insulation.
For instance, did you know that 2% of your homes energy is lost through the cracks around electrical outlets? Do you know how to properly insulate them with damaging your electrical system?
Making even a small mistake installing your own insulation can result in less efficiency creating a less comfortable home..
Gutter Guards and Leaf Protection
Gutter protection by way of leaf guards is a great way to increase the amount of time your gutters will function properly without maintenance.
Leaves, sticks, dust, and even windblown debris can accumulate inside of a gutter and create roadblocks water won't penetrate. This causes the system to overflow and leak down the sides of your home.
If you have ever tried to leave someone's home in a heavy rain, and they have blocked gutters, then you know it's like walking through Niagara Falls.
Consider These 5 Leaf Protection Options
Mesh - A sheet of thin metal containing perforated holes throughout allow water to enter but not larger debris.
Nylon Guards - Nylon designed gutters are great for keeping snow from building up atop gutters in areas where the winters can be bad.
Bottle Brush Style - similar to a large bristled broom, this style allows water to drain through, yet keeps leaves and other items that cause obstructions safely at the top.
Reverse Curve Guards - Think of this an upside down gutter that has been placed over your rain drainage system. A solid curve fits snugly over the exposed collection area, this style was patented 1908.
Soffits and Fascia
Last but certainly not least; you'll want to choose functional and attractive soffits, or fascia for your exterior.
Generally thought only to add aesthetic value, these important architectural elements are vital to protecting your home from rain and moisture, not to mention keeping away pesky birds looking for a perfect place to build their nests, which can lead to severe damage.
Again, there are many options to consider when deciding which material to install.
Traditionally, soffits and fascia come in a variety of woods, and even aluminum. Many of today's consumers are switching to materials like UPVC and vinyl due to their ability to be easily maintained.
These long-lasting, durable solutions can be made to look like practically any type of material including wood grained giving not only solid functionality, but providing a specific look for any design theme you can imagine.
As you can tell by now, there is quite a bit to think about when it comes to renovating the outside of your home.
Home exterior upgrades are not a simple DIY operation that you can accomplish over the weekend, or even several weekends.
The best solution is to consult with a professional contractor, or home inspector to get a professional opinion regarding the current state of your home. You may find out that the repairs you are considering are not even needed.
If a makeover is in your future, a qualified professional will ensure that your home is properly outfitted in a reasonable amount of time, and you can get back to enjoying all the benefits of an attractive, and more importantly, energy efficient living space.