Home & Garden

What to know before you update your home’s exterior

One way to update your home is to add eye appeal around your front door or windows.
One way to update your home is to add eye appeal around your front door or windows. Photo provided

If your home is starting to look outdated, you may want to consider updating its exterior. Options include repainting the exterior, replacing or adding siding, changing window accents, adding stone or brick façades or changing the front door. Some homeowners also change their front entrance by updating a porch and changing columns that support a roof or portico.

Selecting new siding or façades for your home can be a tricky decision, considering all the types of materials on the market today. While choices range from vinyl and fiber cement, to wood, stone and stucco, vinyl siding is still the most popular choice, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on single-family homes. Vinyl siding also provides added energy saving benefits and increased protection against the forces of nature.

When selecting siding materials keep in mind several key factors: durability, aesthetics, your local climate, energy efficiency and your budget. Since siding can last from 20-40 years, with many manufacturers offering lifetime warranties, you will want to select your siding brand carefully.

As you review siding colors or other facing materials, try not to be too trendy since color preferences change over time. Grey, off-white and soft blue tones are common choices. You can pair your siding color with accent colors for trim in deeper shades or contrasting colors. Adding façade materials to part of your home’s exterior using brick, stone or wood will give the home real eye appeal as well.

Pricing can also vary widely for siding and facing materials. Since labor can be as much as 60 percent of the cost of any installation, it makes sense to go for more durable options that may be a little pricier.

Another way to update your home is to add eye appeal around your front door or windows. There are many choices of window accents to place over or around windows and changing or adding shutters is another option. Front doors usually come in steel, wood or fiberglass. Within each category there are many choices of styles and colors. Besides aesthetics, it’s important to evaluate how much weather a door may receive annually. Check out the durability of the material and the quality of the weather stripping system to make sure the door will keep air and water out.

As you research contractors to complete your exterior updating, you will want to check their references and experience, as well as verify their insurance coverage. Never pay for a job in full at the beginning of the project; withhold at least 20-30 percent until the work is completed to your satisfaction. The estimate should include a detailed list of labor costs and materials including brand names.

Denny Cisney Jr. is president and co-owner of Cisney & O’Donnell Builders and Remodelers, a full-service contractor that has been in business since 1969 servicing clients in central Pennsylvania. For more information, visit cisneyremodeling.com.

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