The 8 Best Summer Home-Improvement Projects to Cross Off Your List
Summer is a great time for home improvement projects and DIY updates around the house. Set some time (and money) aside this summer to give your home some TLC. Not only will it increase the overall value of your home, but little upgrades here and there can also save you a lot of money down the line.
While some home improvements can be expensive, such as adding central air conditioning or remodeling an entire room of your house, there are more affordable projects that can give you the same effect for a much lower cost. Here are some simple, affordable home improvement projects to try this summer that won't break the bank.
1. Pressure-wash outdoor areas.
Winter weather can leave behind all sorts of dirt and grime on your home's exterior and other outdoor areas. Take advantage of the warmer weather to give your home a high-powered cleaning. A pressure washer can make quick work of clearing away buildup on siding, driveways, decks, patios, and walkways. If you don't own a pressure washer, you can often rent one at your local home center or hardware store. As you clean your home's exterior, be sure to direct the spray downward to avoid forcing water into cracks or seams, and use a lower-pressure setting on surfaces that could easily be damaged, such as painted siding or wood decks.
2. Refinish your deck.
Spruce up your deck with fresh paint or stain in anticipation of summer entertaining. Not only will refinishing your deck give it a clean look, but it will also help reduce cracks and splinters, making the surface friendlier for bare feet. Proper prep is key to a beautiful finish, so take the time to clean the surface and strip off the old finish before you begin. While you're at it, consider painting your patio furniture to make it look good as new. Then hang some outdoor string lights to make your space a dreamy oasis perfect for hosting a backyard event.
3. Build a shed.
Add value to your home and a spot to park your lawn equipment by building a shed in your backyard. Before you begin this project, check with your local authorities, as building codes and ordinances vary by location. Once you've gotten the go-ahead, choose a spot in your yard that offers convenient access and prepare a solid, even foundation. You can purchase shed kits at home centers and online, or you can find building plans that can easily be customized with different materials.
4. Declutter your home.
As the weather warms, summer is a good time to declutter and air out those oft-forgotten areas, like the garage, an outdoor shed, or basement, that tend to be used less during colder months. Decluttering typically doesn't cost anything, and you can earn some money by selling items you no longer use. Plus, you can use your earnings toward other home repairs. "It costs nothing except a week or two of your time, and the ability to let go and part ways with unneeded clutter that no longer brings you or your home joy," says Emilie Dulles lifestyle design expert and founder of Dulles Designs. Your clutter is actually costing you money, and getting rid of things you don't use can make a lot of room in your house and even give you ideas for other improvements.
5. Refresh your house with paint.
Summer is the perfect season for bigger paint projects. If you have areas in your home that you've been meaning to repaint, such as entire rooms or the exterior, summer is the time to do it—and a little paint could go a long way in transforming your space. The warm weather lets the paint cure properly and ensures that it will last longer. "I think painting is one of the best DIY projects because it can be easily corrected if you make any mistakes," says Chicago-based real estate developer Bill Samuel. "It really has a huge impact on the overall space when you take your time to repair any blemishes and do a quality job." Samuel says you can expect to pay between $15 to $50 per gallon; more expensive paints will usually cover the walls better and last longer. Dulles recommends painting parts of your home (or all of it) white to make it look bigger and brighter.
6. Check gutters.
This might not be the most fun or creative home improvement project, but it's an important one to protect your home against summer storms and prepare for colder months ahead. "Winter, followed by a rainy spring, can take a toll on your gutters and downspouts," says Bailey Carson, home expert at Angi, a digital company that helps people find professionals in their area for home projects. "If they're ignored, you could end up needing to replace them altogether, or worse, dealing with foundation damage, interior flooding, driveway cracks, or landscape erosion." The damage would end up costing you way more than cleaning your gutters, which costs an average of $160, ranging from $118 to $225. All you need (if you don't have this equipment already) is a gutter cleaning attachment for your garden hose, a ladder, a bucket, a gutter scoop, and heavy-duty gloves. You could also buy a gutter guard to protect your gutters and prevent leaves from gathering in them in the first place.
7. Spruce up landscaping.
Give your yard some attention, too—chances are, you're probably spending a lot more time in it to enjoy the beautiful summer weather. While the cost of renovating your outdoor space varies depending on the project, there are simple DIY improvements you can make to elevate your backyard or front yard for a lot less. Commercial real estate investor and founder of Property Cashin, Marina Vaamonde suggests landscaping your front yard. "Gardens make homes more aesthetically pleasing, and they also can add to the property value. Summertime is the perfect time to plant perennials, a variety of beautiful-looking flowers that are low maintenance," says Vaamonde. She also suggests lupines and hydrangeas as other beautiful (and low-maintenance) additions to your garden.
Adding plants or flowers leading up the walkway to your front door can get you some instant curb appeal and liven up your front yard, says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. You can do the same kind of sprucing up in your backyard to get rid of any overgrown or dead plants, trees, or shrubs, and add some patio furniture.
8. Clean or replace AC filters.
Another not-so-fun but very important summer home-improvement project: cleaning or replacing the filters on your HVAC unit. Don't worry: this one is quick and won't take up as much time as cleaning your gutters. "Filters get dirty, especially if they haven't been changed in six months," says Rick Hoskins, home DIY expert and founder of FilterKing. Dirty filters can cause allergies by circulating dust, mold, and other allergens throughout your home when you have the AC on during the summer. All you have to do is find your AC and furnace vents, unscrew it, and clean or replace the filters. Hoskins suggests looking for filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 for optimal protection.