Kick Start Your Curb Appeal With an Exterior Remodel

storm exteriorExterior Remodeling Projects That Make a Difference

What’s the ROI on exterior remodeling? New curb appeal, resale value, daily enjoyment, greater functionality and – if you do it right – significant savings in energy costs and maintenance as well.

Resale value isn’t the only reason to think about exterior remodeling. Curb appeal also means having an attractive, well-cared-for house that welcomes you home every day of the year. How welcoming is your own home? Exterior remodeling can make all the difference. Best of all, whether you’re thinking of a major exterior remodeling project or small improvements, today’s new materials can help you build in lower energy costs and maintenance at the same time you’re enhancing your home’s attractiveness and eventual resale value.

Why Invest in Exterior Remodeling?

Exterior remodeling is carried out as part of another remodeling job, such as a home addition. Instead of just having the extra room “stuck” on, the entire exterior of the home is remodeled to integrate the new living space with the existing structure.

Resale value prompts homeowners to use exterior remodeling to improve curb appeal and update the look of the home. Adding a new entry door, for example, is a popular upgrade that continues to give homeowners a high ROI in terms of resale.

Repairs and replacements often lead to more extensive exterior remodeling. For example, when replacing old windows, homeowners can rethink not only the type of window but the sizes and shapes – transforming those 1960s picture windows into French doors, Palladian arches or even Craftsman-styled windows and transforming the home’s exterior to match the new style.

Enjoyment is also a big factor. Homeowners may like the idea of exterior remodeling as a quick way to give their home a different look, adding a friendly front porch, covered entry or new deck and outdoor living room.

What Types of Exterior Remodeling Projects Make the Biggest Difference?

From adding new shutters and trim, to completely redesigning the façade, all types of exterior remodeling projects make a difference to the look of your home. Some projects can also make a difference to how much you spend on home energy and how much time, money and effort it takes to maintain your home. Let’s take a look at just a few of these “double duty” home exterior remodeling ideas.

Exterior surface: If you’re tired of painting wood siding or it’s time to replace vinyl siding, stone and brick can dramatically change the look of your home. Exterior remodeling materials like these last a lifetime and require very little maintenance. If you don’t want the look of brick or stone (or the cost), new types of siding offer attractive options. Fiber-cement siding, for instance, is guaranteed for 50 years, insects can’t bore into it, and it actually serves as an extra layer of insulation for your home — which can lower your heating and cooling costs.

Windows, Doors, and Skylights: In addition to giving your home a fresh “look,” new windows can improve your home’s energy efficiency. Plus, redesigning the way windows and skylights are placed – and even incorporating products like solar lighting tubes – can help you use natural daylight to significantly reduce your lighting bill. Remember, however, that just buying new windows and doors won’t automatically reduce energy costs. If they’re not properly installed as part of a professional exterior remodeling job, you can still find yourself paying to heat or cool the great outdoors.

Roofing: Having a new roof certainly improves curb appeal and pays off during a home inspection if you’re trying to sell your home. Even if you’re not selling anytime soon, a new roof pays off in less worry during storms. While you’re at it, you may want to consider a new exterior, remodeling the roof line to add dormers, extend the roof over a patio, or create a new covered entryway. Plus, even small changes in the roofline can transform the character of your home, giving an ordinary ranch or split level the charm of a country cottage or a sleek modern profile. Roofing materials can include anything from terracotta tiles and slate to cedar shakes and standard asphalt shingles. But even if you choose shingles, today’s choices include all-new colors. That’s important for energy costs because a hot black roof conducts heat into the home’s interior, running up your air-conditioning bill. In fact, a cool white roof may be able to save you as much as 15% on energy costs.

The bottom line is that even if you’re not thinking about selling your home, exterior remodeling can be well worth the investment – paying you back with daily enjoyment, greater functionality and – if you do it right – significant savings in energy and maintenance as well.

insulated sidingExterior Remodeling for Energy Efficiency

No matter if you live in a newer home or an older home, odds are it’s not at all as energy-efficient as you would like. You may sense this every month when you get another high-energy bill, or each time you reach for a sweater to fend off the chills or need to find your slippers. A large number of homeowners don’t realize how incredibly easy it truly is to make the home more energy-efficient as well you’re remodeling your home making it more exquisite.

Curb Appeal That Will Curb Your Energy Usage

Homeowners win when exterior remodeling not only improves their home’s curb appeal, it saves money in the long run too. In case your renovation plans include replacing the exterior of your own home, you have the perfect chance to improve energy performance by adding rigid-foam sheathing under replacement siding, installing insulated siding, and/or installing an air barrier to eliminate air leakage or infiltration.

Wrap Your House in Comfort

Number one on your list to increase your home energy efficiency and comfort should be to add a “wrap” to your home. Home wraps are made of specially engineered polymers and help seal your home from the elements, keeping outside air out and inside air in where it belongs. This means you enjoy more comfort and lower energy bills. While having an exchange of inside and outside air is essential, with no wrap the air exchange is uncontrolled and brings in impurities such as insulation particles and building dust if air comes through the exterior walls.

Exterior Insulation

Insulated siding that features rigid foam insulation fused behind the exterior surface of the siding panel further improves your home’s energy efficiency. Not only does it reduce energy costs year-round, but it really can be visually appealing in each of its many maintenance-free forms, many of which have the look and texture of real wood. You can also install foam panel insulation under other types of exterior surfaces that really help improve the “R” value of your home energy efficiency.

Savings from Windows and Doors

If you’re swapping out windows and doors as part of your project, you have a wonderful opportunity to select the latest energy-saving products. High-performance windows provide warmer interior surfaces through winter and cooler interior surfaces through summer, so that your home always feels perfect. Today’s exterior doors often fit better and tend to be better insulated, particularly compared to older style conventional doors or sliding glass patio doors. The best thing of all this is that remodeling provides you with the perfect opportunity to have your windows and doors installed right. A quality home energy remodeling contractor will employ their energy-saving knowledge and techniques to help you select the right windows and doors to buy that will properly insulate and seal the spaces between the new windows and doors and the home’s framing and wrap. In other words, no air infiltration or gaps in insulation around the new windows and doors. The difference in price between a quality home energy remodeling contractor and a low priced window and door replacement contractor is often mostly in the way they seal and insulate the new windows and doors to avoid drafts and loss of insulation between the walls and the windows and doors.

Interior Sealing and Insulation

If your energy bills are high, chances are your home needs some additional interior insulation and sealing. Typical contributors that rob you of energy are under-insulated attics, leaky windows and doors or drafty basements. But keep in mind that your remodel will give you important access to difficult-to-reach areas between floors, inside walls, or under floors. This includes leaky air ducts running throughout your home. So it’s the perfect time to make your home as energy-efficient as you possibly can. Energy Star estimates that a homeowner can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or as much as 10% on total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.

So just don’t make your home beautiful – make it beautifully energy efficient! Think about remodeling as a welcome opportunity to increase your home’s comfort and put money back in your pocket. And that’s when you’ll really love your home.

About the Author Joyce

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