Maintenance projects and renovations improve the look and feel of your home exterior. Seasonal repairs and inspections to the roof, gutters, and siding help protect your home from wood rot and other types of water damage. However, regular maintenance and home improvements can be pricey. Money-saving tips for your home’s exterior include planning ahead, getting free estimates, and having an emergency budget.
Best advice for a successful home exterior project (DIY or contractor), whether it’s a simple repair or a major renovation is to plan ahead. Regardless of the size, any home improvement has a lot of moving parts – many factors come into play including, materials, different stages of the renovation, even the weather. In order to have a big-picture visual in mind, know the following:
- The purpose of the project – replacing the front door because you want a different colour (cosmetic) or replacing the front door because the foyer is cold and drafty (functionality)
- The time frame of the repair or renovation
- Where the home improvement will be done – if you’re replacing the gutters and you have to get permission to go on the neighbour’s property or you’re digging in the backyard to build a greenhouse (call before you dig) some additional planning is required
- How you want it done – by a professional contractor or DIY
Create an Emergency Budget
In addition to having a budget for the specific home improvement project you are working on, create an emergency budget for unexpected repairs. When the front run of the gutters lands on your lawn or a pipe breaks flooding the basement, the situation might be less stressful when know that you can get the repairs done. Even if a home insurance plan will cover the cost eventually, it will eliminate having to scramble for available funds or apply for a loan.
Three Free Estimates
If you’re not doing it yourself, you will need to hire a reputable contractor. Hiring someone you trust to get the job done on time and on the budget you’ve allotted for the project will save you money in the long run. After narrowing down potential professionals for your home improvement, take the time to get three estimates: this process allows you to examine what each company has to offer, including the total cost (materials and labour).
Doing research, checking references, and knowing how long they’ve been in business and the company’s reputation can protect you from scammers or an end result you’re not happy with.
Pick an Off-Season
Having new siding, windows, gutters or even a roof installed in off-season months is a good way to ensure you get a time slot that’s convenient for you. Many contractors aren’t as busy in the winter months as they are in the spring, summer, and fall. Having work done to your home exterior in November, December, January, and February can also be cost-efficient – there are often year-end and product clearance sales on home improvement materials such as siding, aluminum gutters, and roofing shingles.
Having trees on your property is a good thing – they provide privacy, shade, and protection from the wind. However, when they grow too close to the house or vegetation brushes up against the siding or exterior walls, it can be an invitation for ants, squirrels, raccoons, birds, and other critters to nest in the gutters or get inside your home.
If you are landscaping from scratch, ensure trees, shrubs and plants are planted three to five feet away from exterior walls to prevent them from growing too close as they mature. When the trees are already on the property near your home, trim tree limbs back away from the roof, gutters, and siding to a minimum of six feet.
Consider purchasing a self-assembly kit when adding a gazebo, outdoor shed, greenhouse, or backyard home office. If you like to DIY, assembly kits can save you money on materials and depending on the kit, even tools for the project.