It can be very difficult to determine which color will suit best for the exterior of your home. It’s a fact that exterior hues can affect the curb appeal of your house and thus making it very crucial. You need to take care of landscaping, hardscaping, and roofing to make your exterior more attractive. Here are a few tips that may help:
Go for historically accurate color scheme
If you are thinking of painting your home, you should definitely go for a historically accurate color scheme. So what does that mean? If able, try to use a color that your house has been in the past. To help you with this, you can also contact a professional to analyze the old paint chips and then recreate the original color.
Should complement the roof color
Check what type of material your roof is made of. Is it asphalt, shingle, metal, terracotta, slate or clay? All these roofing colors have their own textures and considerations. It is not necessary that your exterior siding paint color matches the roof, rather it should harmonize with it.
What is not going to be painted
Sometimes you cannot paint the exterior especially when your home is brick, stone, associated with a dominant chimney, vinyl windows, natural wooden door. Take the color of these into consideration when selecting a paint color.
Accents and architecture
Look for an accent color that contrasts with the background. Acknowledge the architectural details of your house. Check for any brackets, imposts, swirls and dentil molding. You can also check for any missing architectural details that should be replaced before you start painting. You can also color your siding by selecting accent colors for shutters, moldings, doors, brackets and porch decks. Beware that too many colors can overwhelm your house.
Besides these tips, if you are looking for highly professional contractors for services such as interior or exterior painting visit House at Work. Just post the details about your project and contractors will come to you with their proposal for your project. These services are available in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Ithaca, New York. For more details, please visit the website https://www.houseatwork.com/
Looking to maximize the resale value of your home before putting your house on the market? Not thinking about selling, but considering the impact of a home upgrade on resale value? Not all remodeling projects are created equal. Here are the top five upgrades that pay back when you decide to sell:
1. Curb appeal
Spruce up your home’s exterior to get the most bang for your buck. Landscaping and minor exterior improvements pay back 100% of the money you invest. If you’re going for a complete makeover, you’ll spend $3,500 for new sod, flowers and shrubs, a new walkway, enhanced porch and front door upgrade. If you’re just refreshing what you already have, plan on $1,500 for cosmetic improvements like paint, garden upgrades and porch touch-ups.
Easy fixes like freshening up trim paint and replacing old awnings go a long way in restoring your home’s curbside appeal. If the paint on your front door is peeling or your front steps are in need of repair, prospective buyers question how much effort you’ve put into maintaining your home.
Decorative planters on a front porch bring color front and center. Replace overgrown shrubs by your entrance with flowering plants in varying sizes and colors. Select blooms in one color and group them together for the most impact.
Plantings can be used to emphasize a home’s best features or to hide some of its flaws. Placed alongside a natural wood door or near columns by the entry to your home, flower pots or planters bring attention to that all-important entrance. Your home’s entry is also more inviting with outdoor furnishings that complement your style.
If your porch seems a little too basic, add columns to introduce an architectural element. Visit a nearby historic house parts store to repurpose old columns or start from scratch detailing new columns with a clever mix of moldings in different widths for more detail.
2. Major exterior improvements
Vinyl siding, house painting and updating your front entry can pay back on average 95% of your cost. Plan to pay $7,000-$8,000 to replace vinyl siding on an average home. Painting your entire house can set you back between $2000-$4000 for a 2,100 sq. ft. home.
When selecting exterior colors, eliminate the guesswork by going one step further than color swatches or paint color cards. Paint a small section on your house with your top three color choices, then paint trim color on a small section of trim close by. Finally, paint larger swatches of your door color choices right on your front door. For a splash of color, go bold with a door color but stay within the overall color scheme of your home.
Look at colors in different light and at different times of day before painting your entire house. Hot pink or bright chartreuse may not add to the resale value of your home like a soft palette that has universal appeal would and one that suits the style of your home. To estimate supply costs, remember this rule of thumb: one gallon of paint covers on average a 400 sq. ft. surface.
Replace or repair old and worn shutters. A pair of custom-made wood shutters can cost up to $500. Raised-panel vinyl shutters start at $70.00. Add on another $100 for hardware plus installation costs, if you hire a pro. Wood or vinyl, new shutters will give your home a brand new look.
Replace an old front door with a new, mid-range steel door with clear dual-pane half-glass panel and a new lockset for $1,100. Your garage door can be replaced for $1,500.
Surprisingly, adding a 16’ X 20’ wood deck costs about $11,000. Decks only recoup about 90% of cost so add a deck only if it’s something you can’t live without. Instead, add an interesting gate to a courtyard or a decorative fence to enclose a front yard. Replace a porch railing or introduce outdoor lighting to make your exterior pop.
The front entry is taking on new importance these days. Outdoor furniture–rugs, table, decorative outdoor lighting, even a loveseat–make a porch an inviting, outdoor space. Play up your home’s first impression with lush outdoor furnishings that draw attention to your home and garden.
Window and door replacements are still a good investment particularly in our climate. With an average return of 89% on investment, replacing ten 3’ X 5’ windows with new double-hung wood or vinyl windows runs $10,000-$11,000.
3. Minor kitchen upgrades
Kitchens are one of the first things home buyers look at when they consider purchasing a home. It’s important not to go overboard with a kitchen remodel though. A high-end kitchen remodel can price your home out of the local market and put a big dent in your wallet.
Basic kitchen upgrades–up to $15,000–return on average 98.5% of your cost. Anything beyond that cost and the return takes a sharp drop, down to 66%.
You don’t have to re-do your kitchen from the ground up if it’s already functioning well. A budget of $15,000 will allow you to re-face cabinets, replace an outdated oven, cooktop, sink, lighting fixtures and countertops with modestly-priced alternatives. You can also install new flooring (other than hardwoods) within budget.
Genuine hardwood flooring costs about $2.50-$3.00 per sq. ft. and another $3.00 per sq. ft. for a pro to install. That’s about $1,100 for a 12’ X 15’ room not including subflooring costs. Refinishing an existing hardwood is more cost effective: only $400-$500.
Instead of hardwoods, DIY a “floating floor” of wood or laminate for $1.25 – $2.00 per sq. ft. No nails needed and the pieces snap together.
Brighten up your kitchen by sanding and painting existing cabinets. Install new hardware. Select mid-priced appliances, an updated sink and faucet, glitzy or trendy light fixtures for a little bling, Corian or quartz countertops and a new vinyl or wood veneer floor and you’re within budget.
A granite countertop, stainless sink and faucet will run between $5,000-$8,000. Synthetic stone materials look as good as granite for a fraction of the cost and wear better. Skip the backsplash for a whopping $2,000. A backsplash can date your kitchen and the chances the next owner will approve of your color and design selections are pretty slim. Design and product selection are key to keeping your minor kitchen upgrade from becoming a major renovation.
4. Major bath remodel
The latest trend in creating an at-home retreat is all about the bath. A spa-like bath remodel returns on average 93% of your investment. Plan on $26,000 on average to replace your tub and toilet and to add designer sinks and faucets, a linen closet, lighting, ceramic tile floor and exhaust fan. Also included within this price tag is relocating your tub and expanding the space in a 5’ X 7’ bathroom.
Replacing old floors with tile or stone pays back. Cut corners by making an old vanity look new again with new countertop. Hang a designer mirror or two on your wall for a more contemporary look.
Many buyers looking at three-bedroom homes want two full baths. It’s sometimes a better idea to bump out the powder room into a full bath rather than remodel an already ample master bath that can be refreshed with cosmetic upgrades.
Just add a shower to a powder room and suddenly it’s a full bath. Rainfall showerheads will cost you about $200, handhelds with gadgets, $500. Since bathrooms are especially prone to looking outdated, pick neutral colors and finishes.
5. Attic bedroom
Is the space in your home feeling a bit overcrowded? Want a place to retreat to at the end of a busy day? How about an attic bedroom? Adding additional square footage to your house has big impact when it’s time to sell. Beware though: attic remodels are one of the most expensive remodeling projects you can undertake. Tucked away in the rafters, an attic bedroom costs about $39,000 to complete but returns 93.5% of its value when you sell your home.
Included at this price is a 15’ X 15’ bedroom, 5’ X 7’ bath with shower, 15 ft. dormer, four windows and a closet. Add-ons may include insulation, vapor barrier for moisture, a possible addition to your HVAC to accommodate another room and an attic fan. Depending on the finishes you select and your existing space, cost can vary from $30,000 to $39,000.
Will your renovations pay off and give you the best return on your investment? Just because a project is expensive, doesn’t mean it will pay you back. Don’t exceed the ceiling for your neighborhood or you won’t get your money back. Do your homework before planning and budgeting for a home upgrade to ensure it pays you back when that ‘For Sale’ sign goes up in the front yard.
What’s popular now may not be in style in five years. Consider how long you plan to be in your home before beginning a renovation. Wise choices mean a better return on your investment.
As we wistfully say goodbye to the warmth and glow of summer, here are a few simple tasks for getting your yard and garden ready for the cold weather ahead. Preparing your garden, and your lawn, for winter is a smart way to ensure they’ll be lush and healthy next spring.
Let’s start with the biggest area of growth: your lawn. First, find out what type of grass you have. In Upstate New York, cooler season varieties including fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass benefit from being fertilized before the snow falls.
Cool-season grasses grow heartily in fall which is why they prefer to be fertilized now. Use an organic fertilizer to keep your yard habitat-friendly. You want to look for a winterizing fertilizer to apply in late October through November. Be sure it contains all 16 essential nutrients.
Grass is fertilized in the fall because with shorter days, and cooler air, the growth of turf grass begins to slow. Grass returns like a velvety green canopy each spring because of the shift of nutrients to its roots during winter months to fuel its spring revival. To conserve nutrients, grass shifts food reserves from leaves to roots. Even though air temps continue to fall at this time of year, plant roots remain active in the soil.
By fertilizing grass now you’re feeding active roots so roots have even more nutrients to store for winter. Grass that’s fed in fall greens up quickly in spring. If you fertilize, you’ll have a thick and lush spread come April.
In our region, fall is also the time to spread cool-weather grass seed in patches of your lawn that have shown the most wear and tear. Take advantage of whatever warmer days we have to seed. New growth shows best when daytime temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mow your lawn for the last time in early to mid-November. Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach down to the roots. This is especially important for high-traffic lawns, which can suffer from thatch buildup, if left untreated.
Maintenance is key to a good lawn come spring. Removing fallen leaves ensures your lawn’s health. Raking also removes thatch, a layer of dead grass on top of your lawn that can compact grass. Avoid thatch or else water and nutrients will be prevented from reaching the roots. Pull weeds before the snow flies.
After your lawn, look to your garden’s pre-winter needs. As fall progresses and temperatures drop, plants that aren’t killed outright by frost prepare for dormancy. New perennials and delicate shrubs will need some help to get through the winter. Prepare your garden for cold weather by winterizing new growth plants.
The freeze-and-thaw cycle that root balls face in winter can damage plants. Mulch is a great way to insulate your recently-planted perennials. Mulch helps insulate soil and prevents frost heave, a condition that occurs when soil repeatedly freezes and thaws. When frost heave occurs, plant crowns and roots can be exposed to freezing air and drying winds. Frost heave will actually push plants out of the soil and can damage your garden.
When adding fall mulch, you’ll need a layer that’s six inches deep. Wait until the ground freezes before adding a layer of organic material as winter mulch. Straw, crumbled leaves, cornstalks, pine needles or clean hay all work as well as commercial grades.
Shallow-rooted perennials are especially prone to frost heave, so be sure to mulch around them. Another option is covering a new bed with burlap. Mulch bulb beds with evergreen boughs to protect the soil from shifting and cracking during the winter.
Remember, in the fall, newly transplanted trees and shrubs, divisions of perennials, and hardy bulbs are all growing roots, drawing on soil nutrients and moisture around them. Earthworms and microbes in soil are still processing organic materials they find. Create a winter-friendly habitat and one that will provide even temperature for roots. Once soil is frozen, mulch keeps it frozen.
While you’re in your garden, do some fall cutting. Cut back dry stems of perennials to soil level after frost. Clear out blackened stems and foliage. Pull dead annuals. Cleaning up your garden helps eliminate pests and disease. Be sure to leave any plants that have winter foliage intact. Compost dead plant debris to create an organic soil conditioner. Active compost piles kill weed seeds and disease pathogens.
Roses require extra attention as winter sets in. The last feeding of the season should be two months before the first frost. Stop pruning, and cutting blossoms then too to avoid stimulating new growth which will be killed by the first frost.
Just before the first hard frost, spread fresh mulch of wood chips, shredded bark, or chopped leaves around the base of rose plants, extending as far out as the branch tips. Once the ground freezes, add more mulch. Because winter temperatures can drop below zero here, build a mount of mulch, then add more material after every freeze. Eventually mulch should virtually cover the bush. For an extra step of protection around roses, create a framework using wire, cloth or tomato cages stuffed with leaves or straw to protect plant crowns.
Climbing roses are vulnerable to winter wind and sun. Give them special attention in Upstate NY where winter temperatures go below zero. Wrap the canes with burlap or detach them from your trellis then lay horizontally on the ground. Cover with a mulch of leaves, wood chips, or soil. All roses or young perennials require protecting plant crowns with a deeper layer of mulch or soil after the ground freezes. Always wait for soil to freeze first before protecting plant crowns.
Evergreen roots freeze in soil and stop taking up water when cold sets in. Winterizing evergreen trees and shrubs means protecting them from winter winds. Erect a burlap screen on the windy side of plants (most often northwest). Drive stakes into the soil before the ground freezes. When temperatures are steadily in the 20s, staple or tie burlap to stakes. Protect tender bark of young trees from critters that can gnaw by wrapping stems and trunks with wire or tree-guard products.
Bring in any tropical plants whether potted or planted in your garden. Check for unwanted guests like mealybugs and mites. To acclimate plants to the indoors, start by bringing them in at night when temps fall below 50 degrees and increase the amount of time plants spend indoors daily.
Finally, clean and store garden tools so they’ll be in good shape for the spring. Don’t leave tools– including hoses–outdoors to be damaged by cold weather. Empty hoses and bring them into your garage or shed. Sand wood-handled tools and rub with oil before storing indoors. Sharpen tools including hoes, shears, scissors, knives, loppers, pruners, and shovels and lubricate with oil before storing til spring.
To sharpen edges, put a drop of oil–either WD-40 or motor oil–on the blade. Then, with a handheld wet stone, file the blade at a 20-degree angle. A file or a motor-driven sharpener also works well. Store tools in oiled sand, or hang on pegs.
The cold is coming. Putting your garden and lawn to bed is about cleaning up then covering up. Remember, fall is the most important season for both your garden and yard. For a full, healthy garden and lawn next spring, get started now to protect your beautiful blooms, hardy shrubs and lush green grass.
For those who crave color in a garden all summer long, planting a perennial garden can be one of the most rewarding outdoor pursuits you’ll ever have. Picture continuous blooms cycling throughout the growing season. Perennials, plants with root systems that stay alive underground for years, lie dormant in winter and sprout again each spring. These plants take time to get established but once established, they provide structure in a garden. Perennials bloom at the same time every year. When you plant a perennial garden, you’ll have flowers you can count on from April to October. Before starting a perennial garden, ask yourself these key questions to create a garden design that best suits your needs.
What do I want from a garden?
Do you picture yourself in a country setting with meandering paths and walkways or would you prefer a formal garden with a definite structure and pattern? Will you be entertaining in your garden, observing butterflies or just having an occasional breakfast? Have a vision of what you want before you begin.
What style is my house?
Whether your home is contemporary or classic, your garden should complement your home. A well-designed garden links home and garden. Consider the views out your windows. Interiors that open onto views feel expansive.
-Organize your landscape around sight lines you observe by looking out your windows.
-Position your main garden outside a living room picture window or in view of an outdoor deck or patio. If you enjoy waking up to flowers, a view of the garden from your bedroom window should be part of your plan.
-Plot patios and walks with your home’s style in mind. Use materials that match your house when laying walkways. Crisscross paths to create areas of interest at intersections in your garden.
Can anything be saved in my existing yard or will I be starting with a clean slate?
Do you have a unique stance of trees, a hedge or berm that could be used as a starting point for planning a design? Any natural landscaping can suggest where to begin.
-Place a path where your eye naturally moves through your lot. Create resting spots by placing a bench or decorative pot at points where paths converge or near a shady tree.
What type of light do I have in my yard?
Observe how sunlight moves across your yard, making note of sunny and shaded sections.
How much can I spendto plant a garden?
Spread your planting expenses over a few seasons to keep costs down. Prioritize purchases. Select five to ten perennials to start. Buy small. Younger plants tend to acclimate better to new surroundings.
-Some considerations before planting: Many varieties of perennials need sun to flower–often six to eight hours a day during growing season. Check your soil. Good soil means it’s not too sandy or too sticky and has enough organic matter to allow for good drainage. That’s the best habitat for plants to root. Test the pH of your soil with a soil testing kit before you plant.
-When you’re ready to begin, draw a sketch or take some photos of your yard—panoramics work best. Overlay tracing paper and start sketching out your garden design. It will help to visualize where certain features should be.
-To implement your design, begin by separating one area from another with a hedge or shrub border. You may want to install a trellis or an arbor for climbing vines. Vines are good for creating intimate seating areas and can provide shelter. If you want varying heights in your garden, haul in dirt or remove dirt to raise or lower terrain. The outdoors is a place to explore so follow the slope of the land to create as natural a flow as you can.
-Next, choose your color palette. If you like the excitement of hot colors, select vibrant flowering varieties that sizzle with reds, oranges and yellows. For a peaceful garden setting, choose cool colors such as blues and a variety of greens. Select silver and white-colored flowers and foliage for a garden that gets light late in the day. They’ll reflect the sun or shine by the glow of the moon as evening descends. Decide on a group of colors you like, then build a garden around them.
-Group plants that have harmonious colors and textures as well as similar water needs. Create a bold effect by planting in drifts of one or two varieties rather than mixing lots of different types of plants in one area. Perennials, as a general rule, are low maintenance and if they’re native to your region, will require less care. Remember the less sunlight you have, the fewer blooms.
-Perennials work well in whole garden beds, when combined with annuals and bulbs or as an accent to trees and shrubs. They tend to increase in size and coverage each year. Perennials are well-loved because of their diversity and size and for the variety of colors available. Use them as flower borders around shrubs and trees.
-A well-planned and well-tended garden is like a fine painting. Your first impression will be fields of color, punctuated by unexpected bursts of more intense color and texture. Always changing, ever-evolving, the best gardens tell us something about the person who planted and cared for them. They remind us to explore, to discover, and to appreciate, the beauty and bounty of nature.
Ten select perennials to plant
Ajuga A part sun, part shade, perennial, Ajuga, with its purple flowers, makes a colorful groundcover that looks great most of the year.
Baby’s breath The loose billowy panicles of the tiny single and double pink or white flowers of Baby’s breath adds a light, airy texture to your garden. This delicate-looking perennial prefers alkaline soil and will drape itself over rock walls.
Bellflower (Campanula) These bobbing, often blue, bellflowers are cottage garden plants. This part sun, full sun, perennial comes in both a tall variety and a ground-hugging type.
Blue fescue (Ornamental grass) Blue fecsue is one of the most versatile of the wispy ornamental grasses. Use it at the base of tall perennials such as lilies for blending with the landscape and to offset other plants and foliage. Beautiful when planted in a row as a hedge.
Coneflower (Echinacea) Purple coneflower is easy to grow and attracts birds, bees, and butterflies. Its large, sturdy daisy-like flowers with dropping petals spread easily in good soil with full sun. Color is most often rosy violet or white with hybrids now in yellow, orange, burgundy and cream.
Coralbells Known for their spires of delicate reddish flowers, Coralbells have mottling and veining on their leaves. Because of their exotic foliage, they make fine groundcover and enjoy humus-rich moisture retaining soil.
Hydrangea Comes in types that flourish in sun or shade. This perennial offers huge bouquets of clustered flowers–from mophead to lacecap–blooming from summer through fall. They differ in size of plant and flower shape, flower color and blooming time. Hydrangeas thrive in moist, fertile, well-drained soil. For blue hydrangea, check your soil’s pH and apply aluminum sulfate in spring to lower soil’s pH to 5.2-5.5 range. Also a climbing variety that produces aerial roots that grow into walls, fences or the sides of trees.
Iris This part sun, full sun, perennial was named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Iris comes in a rainbow of colors. These intricate flowers are constructed with three upright petals and three drooping petals. Some like alkaline soil and some like acidic.
Lavender An herb and perennial shrub, Lavender fills the early summer garden with muted purple blooms infused with aromatic fragrance. Great to plant alongside pathways or near outdoor seating so garden visitors can enjoy the scent.
Peony This part sun, part shade, perennial belongs in almost every garden. These lush and sumptuous blooms come in single, semi-double, anemone centered or Japanese, and fully-double varieties. Their vibrant shades of pink and red, and sometimes white, herald early days of spring. Likes deep rich soil with plenty of humus to avoid dryness. When well-suited to the climate, peonies can thrive on very little care.
Conventional wisdom states that upgrades and renovations increase the value of a home. But the reality is that all home improvement projects aren’t created equal—some pay off better than others. Before planning your major projects or giving your contractor the go-ahead on that pricey home makeover, consider thinking small instead of big. Why? The fact is you can’t always count on recouping your investment, especially if you decide to splurge on an upscale kitchen with custom cabinets and high-end appliances or a spa-like bath with luxury finishes.
According to Remodeling magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, an annual national survey comparing the price and resale value of rehab projects, the more you spend on a project, the more you are likely to lose. Spare-no-expense kitchen projects, in particular, only returned as little as 69 percent of the total amount spent on them. Surprisingly, the survey found that simpler, lower-cost projects netted the biggest paybacks: upgrading to a steel entry door recouped almost 102 percent of its cost; replacing wood, vinyl or composite siding with stone veneer paid back 92 percent; and minor kitchen remodels that included cabinet refacing, laminate countertops and new appliances provided a 79 percent return on investment.
The National Association of Realtors says small and exterior-focused home projects are a better value than pricey, more ambitious renovation projects. And the Appraisal Institute, a professional organization of real estate appraisers, believes homeowners should “choose upgrades instead of major remodeling projects to see the greatest potential return on investment.”
That said, here are eight small to mid-range projects that could pay for themselves—and then some—even if you’re not planning to sell anytime soon.
Do Some Painting Projects
Paint offers dramatic results with little investment, especially if you do it yourself instead of hiring a professional.
Consider a Kitchen Update
Small changes in the kitchen not have a large impact, they offer the biggest bang for your buck. Think resurfacing kitchen cabinets or replacing olod hardware. Installing a new sink, faucet, appliances and quality but not over-the-top expensive countertops (natural stone counters like granite have dominated the market for a while, but cheaper, durable materials like laminate are making a comeback) can make the entire space feel brand new.
Upgrade the bathroom
New counters, vanities and fixtures (faucets, sinks and toilet), along with updated wall tile and flooring always provide solid returns.
Redo Your Landscape
When it comes to curb appeal, the front of your house is the first thing people see, so it only makes sense to give some attention to your landscaping. A well-maintained lawn and flowers, shrubs and trees all make a property attractive to potential home buyers down the road.
Build a Deck
More than a place to soak up the sun and have cookouts, decks provide a smooth transition from indoors to out that is appealing to homeowners, guests and future buyers.
Tend to the Basement
For many people, there’s no bigger turn-off than the dreaded damp-basement smell, so a clean, dry underground space can pay dividends. If your basement is prone to moisture, consider using a dehumidifier. If there are leaks or flooding, call in a pro. If you decide to finish your basement with insulation, drywall, laminate flooring or a bathroom, make sure the quality is on par with your upstairs living space.
Replace your garage door
Give your garage a makeover with a door replacement generally pays for itself while making your home more attractive and secure. Even a fresh coat of paint on the doors and entire structure can work wonders.
Replace Your Siding
Vinyl and fiber-cement siding are almost maintenance-free options that improve both the look and energy-efficiency of your home while providing a solid return over time.
The Top 10 Home Improvement Projects with Long-Term ROI
Shannon Roxborough is a widely published freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines, newspapers and websites. An avid home improvement enthusiast, he has more than a decade of DIY experience and previously ran a property maintenance business.