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The Ultimate Guide to Exterior Remodeling Projects

The end results of an exterior remodeling project are beautiful. But getting there is a journey that requires a plan. Here’s what to know before you start.

Undergoing an exterior remodeling of your home can net you almost a 100% return on your investment. Curb appeal isn’t everything, but it does matter a lot to potential home buyers. If you live in an older home and have the urge to put on a fresh new coat of paint, then consider doing a little homework.

Exterior renovation, whether big or small, can get really expensive. Hiring the wrong contractors can leave you underwhelmed and overpaying. Doing it yourself without the proper preparations may result in a dangerous or frustrating situation.

Begin with a plan, assemble the proper pieces, and execute with confidence. This guide will help you brainstorm the best ideas, ask the right questions, and raise expectations. Never leave the fate of your home’s renovation up to chance or put all your eggs in one basket.

This is the Ultimate Guide to Exterior Remodeling.

What You Want to Achieve

Before you start planning what you want your exterior remodel to look like, think about goals. What do you want to ultimately accomplish? Is it fixing a broken or damaged area, aging roof, or peeling paint?

We recommend repairing damaged items before working on aesthetics. It may sound like a great idea to kill two birds with one stone, but not in this instance. Get the repair done and don’t risk running into budgeting problems when diving the repair bill with the remodeling project.

If your main goal doesn’t include a major repair, then start looking at materials and styles that suit your needs. If your exterior renovation project includes adding a room or additional construction, you may also proceed. 

Efficiency Upgrades

Exterior remodeling presents opportunities to make your home more efficient. Whether this is adding solar panels to your roof, improving the insulation, better windows, etc. Renewable energy would be a worthy investment for those not looking to flip their homes.

If you’re doing work on your roof anyways, you should consider investing in solar panels. This can help subsidize some of the cost, thanks to the generous rebates out there. If you can demonstrate a dramatic reduction in your energy bill, it will add plenty of property value for the future.

Other energy-efficiency upgrades made by installing better doors and windows add both curb appeal and economic appeal. You should always consider this when renovating anywhere on the outside of your home. 

A Look at Major Exterior Upgrades

We’re not going to cover all the different types of remodeling categories outside the home. You can spend a lot of time and money working on things like lighting, driveways, or home security. It’s not to say that these things aren’t valuable, but they don’t give quite the same ROI.

Consider looking at these renovations first before going down your list.

Windows

Often overlooked, but really effective at increasing curb appeal. High-grade windows with big, beautiful panes of glass can sell an old home. Older homes have their charm, but they often lack the level of openness as modern homes. 

With professional windows, like Simonton Windows, you gain superior insulation and clarity. More natural light flows through the home, along with improved security and energy efficiency. A big difference is noticed in the colder months when snow blankets over the state.

House Siding

Sidings get dirty, scratched, moldy, and lose their protective coatings over time. Compromised house sidings are especially important to repair and renovate due to the threat of termites/ants. If water is allowed to leak underneath, you will also run the risk of mold taking a foothold. 

Switch to better siding materials, such as fiber cement, composite, or brand new vinyl. These have the best record for longevity with attractive remodeling options. New siding must be installed without imperfections, so do your due diligence when selecting a contractor. 

We’ll share some tips in the following sections on shopping for contractors.

Decking and Porches

An alluring outside porch or deck is a big perk for curb appeal. It gets people thinking about hosting outside and enjoying the outdoors. It’s likewise a marvelous way to gain experiences with your own friends and family.

In the event that your yard or deck needs a facelift, or on the off chance that it needs fixes to the foundation, consider adding it to your next exterior project. Depending on the size of your property, adding or expanding patio/deck space is not a difficult job.

Some homeowners would even consider this a DIY job if you have experience nailing plants together. As long as building codes are followed, this could be a realistic way to save potentially thousands of dollars.

Entryways

Renovating the doors into your home, particularly the front entryways, can upgrade security, improve insulation, and add a ton of curb appeal.

Top quality main entryways, side entryways, and carport entryways can make it simpler for you to enter your home and harder for break-ins to occur. 

A well-made, modern door communicates confidence and value without ever saying a word. Take one look at a ThermaTru Door and you’ll agree. This is a very smart investment for remodeling outside of the house, even on a budget.

Roofing

The roof comes with a bit of an asterisk. Installing a new roof may not bring the greatest ROI, for obvious reasons. It’s very expensive and it isn’t going to be the second, third, or fourth thing that buyers look at.

Repairing your roof is also expensive, but a priority. As we said before, this may be a good opportunity to think about installing solar panels. They definitely add curb appeal and long-term value to your home.

Landscaping

We’re not talking about mowing and weed-whacking, trimming hedges and limbs. We mean professional landscaping that either completely changes your yard’s appearance or improves on it with quality features. Better sod, better pathing, gates, fences, and exotic plants. 

All of these eye-catching elements can really set your home apart from the neighbors. Unless you have experience landscaping, leave this to a hired contractor. They are a great investment if you’re looking for a professional, clean, and safe execution.

Budgeting and Planning

Once you have a good idea as to what you’ll want to be done to your home, it’s time to enter the planning phases. First, you need to lay down a budget. It doesn’t need to include a hard dollar amount at the start.

You don’t want to place artificial limits on what you can do because you’re more likely to cut corners in the wrong places later.

For example, make sure you set aside money before looking at materials. Look at your goals, then start researching the best materials to increase value and longevity.

If you run into a situation where you know you can’t afford it all at once, then start looking at financing options. If you can secure funds for a comprehensive exterior remodeling, then you are less likely to compromise on your labor.

Selecting Contractors

Rule number one: Never hire an unlicensed contractor, family or not.

Rule number two: Never hire the cheapest contractor listed.

Rule number three: Research and talk to former clients.

Don’t rush the hiring process of any home renovation, especially one that is visible to everyone outside. Make sure you’re hiring the most qualified contractors, with the greatest track record. Check all of their documents to make sure they’re legal.

Next, always go with the contractor with the best communication and chemistry. You want a team that is working on behalf of your needs. If your opinion is never taken into account, concerns disregarded, it doesn’t matter how much experience they have; they’re not a good partner.

Eventually, you’ll run into a problem or end up with a finished job that you won’t be completely happy with. This is the time to be picky with who you hire, not when you’ve already made payments.

Get It All in Writing

Protect yourself and your home by getting everything that you discuss in writing before signing any contracts. 

Get Everything in Writing

It’s a good idea to have the plans for your remodel spelled out in writing before you sign on the dotted line.

This guarantees you and your workers are clear on every aspect of the venture before the work starts. What’s more, it causes you, the mortgage holder, to comprehend what the expenses of each piece of the venture are until completion.

A timetable of each period of the task, portraying what will be done and when is likewise extremely helpful as a guide.

Yes, not all deadlines will work out, but at least you have your bases covered. Placing too much trust in a contractor’s word could leave you without rights to sue.

Get Legal Permits

In many areas of the country, the city must sign off before you roll out basic improvements to your home. The license guarantees that the redesigning project meets neighborhood construction standards and security guidelines.

In the event that you live in a historically significant area, the license likewise guarantees that outside changes to your house are with regards to neighborhood rules.

General contractual workers will more often than not deal with the administrative work, however, this is not a requirement. Your best bet is to do the research on the proper permits yourself before starting. Plus, this makes the entire renovating process much smoother and faster when you take care of it in advance.

Expect the Unexpected

The larger the exterior remodeling, the higher probability for mishaps. There will be hardware breakdowns, supply deficiencies, miscommunications, and postponements. Draw up a couple of expectations for how you want the job to be done. 

Include rules while they’re on the property, your schedule, and any other useful directions they could use when you’re not around.

Plan for ways you can entertain yourself when you’re stuck at home monitoring the progress. Don’t forget to take opportunities to get outside the house, prevent mounting stress from affecting your decisions and relationships.

Don’t Rush the Job

Time is your solace and companion. Try not to transform it into your foe. The additional time you take in cautiously arranging your remodeling, setting a legitimate spending plan, sourcing the correct materials, and communicating with your workers, the more effective you’ll be.

Ask any remodelers who have been there, and they’ll reveal to you these same words of wisdom. The biggest invisible obstacle slowing you down will be money. If you’re under a tight budget, things may not flow as fast. 

Try to prepare by choosing a date that is considered “off-season“. If you are remodeling in the late spring or summer, contractors are likely to hike up prices. This is simple supply and demand, as most people will have the same great idea as yourself. 

Before you even start calling up contractors, hire a third-party home inspector to give you an unbiased opinion. They’ll tell you what you should get done without the pressure to sell you their business. If you’re on a tight budget, you can’t afford to go without a professional inspection.

Once you have a good idea as to what needs to get done, then you’ll start looking at products, brands, and customer reviews. Expect to fall into this rabbit hole for a long time if you’re really intent on getting the most bang for your buck.

Pro Exterior Remodeling

Are you ready to take the first step towards transforming your home? Don’t let your overzealous uncle convince you to hire him to save a lot of money. The reason why you pay a lot to home contractors is to do it legally, safely, and without surprises.

If you hear an “oops” or “that doesn’t look right” during your exterior remodeling, who knows how much money you’ll be in the hole after. At the Pro Gallery, we have what you need to get inspired, get quality work done, and meet people who love what they do. 

Reserve your own in-person meeting with our home remodeling experts today. Come see the difference for yourself.