Become the best-looking house in the neighborhood in just a weekend. Fix up your home's exterior with these easy and affordable ideas.
Who says your home's exterior has to be covered in only one type of siding? Consider combining materials to highlight your home's architectural features without breaking the bank. Narrow tongue-and-groove planks draw attention and add character to this bungalow's charming entryway.
A new front door -- or just a fresh coat of paint on the existing one -- adds immediate appeal to your home's facade. Weigh pros and cons of various materials such as wood, vinyl, fiberglass, and metal, and pick one that suits your home's style and your budget.
Install a decorative architectural arbor above your garage door to de-emphasize a front-loaded garage. The structure adds personality and provides a place to grow climbing plants.
A walkway from your driveway or sidewalk to your front door is easy to create and will greatly increase your home's curb appeal. Lay parallel garden hoses to test placement options. You can also try curving the path to add visual interest.
Surround your outdoor living spaces with lighting that will let you carry the conversation into the evening. Installing low-voltage lights is a simple do-it-yourself project; or skip the need for electrical wiring by choosing solar-powered lights.
Watch and learn how to build exterior steps.
Give your front porch some personality with architectural details such as columns and railings. Consider aesthetically pleasing brackets, spandrels, and corbels, too. And don't forget to check out your porch ceiling -- maybe new beaded-board panels are in order. Add a ceiling fan to create a comfortable outdoor living atmosphere.
In just a weekend, you can give your deck an updated look. Friday night: Remove all furniture and other items from the deck. Saturday morning: Pressure-wash the surface to remove dirt; use warm, soapy water and a scrub brush to remove old mold and mildew. Sunday morning: Stain the deck using a paint roller. You should be able to walk on your deck by nightfall. Add your furniture back Monday night.
If you live in an urban setting, use water features, such as fountains and bubblers, to mask noise from the street so you can enjoy the great outdoors in peace. Outdoor sound systems are also a great way to camouflage unwanted sounds. And no matter where you live, you can always dress up your deck with a water feature or use one as a focal point in the garden.
A simple, twice-a-year rinse with a garden hose should keep vinyl siding looking new. If the siding has been neglected for years, rub it down with a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part bleach (cover your plants before you apply it). Don't use a power sprayer; the force of the water can bend the pliable material just enough to let water sneak in behind it.
Inspect the metal flashing around your chimney and vents for rust to prevent leaks. Replace the material as necessary. Also, check your shingles for moss and mildew growth and treat it accordingly.
Bent or disconnected gutters and downspouts look unflattering and allow water to drain where it shouldn't. Seal gutters that leak at the seams with a smear of silicone caulk. Also consider a gutter-cover system to prevent debris from getting in and clogging your downspouts. Before you replace any gutters, inspect the fascia boards beneath them since they might need replacing.
Installing window shutters is an easy way to bump up your home's curb appeal. Step 1: Measure your windows. Step 2: Buy shutters that are sized to cover the windows when they're closed (even if you opt for the less-expensive inoperable shutters). Step 3: Install according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Give your existing front door a new personality by replacing the hardware. Always remember that a well-lit front door makes a home look warm and welcoming, so install or update your front-entry lighting as needed. Use compact fluorescent bulbs to keep your energy bill low.
Not only do cracks in a concrete driveway look messy, they're also a magnet for weeds. Combat this problem by fixing the cracks while they're still small. A canister of patching compound or a tube of siliconized latex sealer with a pointed applicator is all you'll need. Wait for a warm day, clean out the cracks with a blast of water from your hose, shake the compound well, and apply, following label directions.
Garage door openers are a worthwhile luxury, especially when it's raining. Installing one is a two-person job, so make sure you have an extra set of hands to hold one end of the chain track while you mount it. Just remember that most states require the opener to be plugged into an outlet on its own circuit.
One easy way to boost curb appeal is by repainting your home's trim. For a classic, timeless look choose a neutral color such as brown, white, or cream. To add a stamp of personal style, consider painting trim a contrasting hue such as black, green, or purple so it can be easily spotted from the street.