Most people have driven around in neighborhoods and found that one house that really stands out (in a good way). Whether it's the unique landscaping, the fresh coat of paint, or the quality of the materials, there's something about the exterior design that sets it apart from the rest. If you want your home to be the one that stands out, here are some suggestions you can use to get started.
Give It a New Paint Job
Painting your home's exterior is a relatively simple way to make a major change to how your home looks. To get started, pressure wash your house. Painting works best on clean surfaces. Identify and repair any damaged surfaces. Once you've done that, remove any existing paint that's chipped or loose. Then you'll need to caulk the trim and prime any stains or wood knots. Protect areas you don't want covered in paint such as doors, windows, and lights. Then you'll add one to two coats of your chosen paint color. Keep in mind that you may need to start with a primer, depending on how the color you've chosen compares to the existing paint. Paint the trim and doors, if that's included in your project.
Replacing your existing roof with a metal roof is another way to give your home a unique look. Metal roofs are often made at least in part of recycled materials and are recyclable when their life as a roof ends. They can reflect the sun's heat, making them energy efficient when it comes to cooling your home. They tend to be both durable and fireproof. They're also incredibly long-lasting, depending on the material used. Replacing a roof is expensive, so unless you've got a lot of cash to burn on a new roof before you need one, this is one exterior design project that might be better left until you need a new roof.
If your exterior walls are looking a little shabby, consider replacing the siding. There are lots of different siding materials to choose from, each with their pros and cons. You'll also have different colors and textures to choose from. Finding an option that will give you the look you want to achieve shouldn't be too difficult. Be aware that which material will work best may be somewhat dependent on where you live, so take that into consideration. You'll also want to make sure you understand the best way to maintain your chosen siding so you can be sure to keep it in good condition.
Doors With Windows
Sometimes you don't need to do crazy big things to give your exterior design a face lift. Just changing the front door can be enough to make a noticable difference. If your front door doesn't have windows, consider swapping it out for one that does. This can be a great way to brighten up your entrance way to your home using natural light, and give your exterior a more stylish, classy look. If the extra natural light entering your home causes you concern because of UV light, no need to worry. Low-E glass entry doors minimize UV light that enters your home. You'll be able to enjoy the beauty of the glass and natural light without so much of the UV light entering your home.
Most of these changes are great for during the day, but may not have as much of an impact at night. Getting new lighting for your house, on the other hand, can make your house really shine at night. Lighting your house well can make your property safer for those walking up to it. It can also deter criminals from targeting your house. You can also use lighting to add a more personal touch to your house. Jellyfish lighting is a permanent lighting system that blends in with your home and can be controlled through an app on your phone. You can then customize it with different colors to celebrate holidays, your favorite sports team, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Try a New Trim Color
Painting the entirety of your home's exterior is a pretty big project. If that's more than you want to take on, consider tackling just your trim instead. Changing the color of your trim can have either a subtle impact, or a rather stark one. The level of impact will depend on the color you choose and how it looks in comparison to the color of the rest of your house. Trim that is more similar in color to the siding color will have a more subtle impact than trim that is more contrasting.
Change Your Landscaping
Changes to the house itself aren't the only thing worth considering. Your landscaping can have a significant impact on how your house is presented to the world. Whether you choose to have a grass lawn, artificial turf, or xeriscaped yard, there are a lot of fun, creative options you can use to personalize your front yard. You also might consider redoing your front walkway. Concrete may be the most commonly used material for sidewalks and walkways, but there are some alternative walkway materials you can use that make your home more unique and stand out.
Add New Plant Life
Speaking of landscaping options, adding new plant life is another great way to change up your home's exterior design. You can use trees and shrubbery to frame your house. Keep them neatly trimmed to ensure that they, and your property, look their best. Add a variety of flowers and other plants of different colors and heights to give your property more color and depth. The possibilities here are nearly endless. Just keep in mind the overall balance of the property to ensure you have an optimal result.
Whether you're preparing your home to sell or just want to change things up, making improvements and changes to your home's exterior design can really boost your curb appeal. While far from an exclusive list, these suggestions can provide you with some ideas for how to get started. You'll be on your way to making your house the one that really stands out.
Read this next: What You Need to Ask a Contractor Before Hiring Them for a Project
(BPT) - Selecting new siding is one of the most important curb appeal decisions homeowners face when building new or remodeling an existing home. With so many options — both classic and modern materials — there’s a lot to consider.
Many manufacturers are now combining traditional styles and materials with advanced technologies, delivering a product homeowners can love for years to come. Among all the options on the market, vinyl siding — with its various styles, textures and colors — remains the most-used product. In fact, 2016 marked 22 straight years that vinyl siding held the top spot in cladding for new single-family houses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual home report. This material has come a long way since it was introduced in the 1950s, with manufacturers such as Ply Gem Building Products making strides in research and development efforts for design and performance.
Whether you are building a new home or remodeling, there are four key considerations every homeowner should account for when determining which siding option will best meet his or her needs: durability, design, maintenance and affordability.
Siding selection is typically a once-in-a-lifetime decision, making durability a key factor for many. Homeowners should look for a siding option that is resistant to every element, including rain, wind and even the sun. Manufacturers now offer siding products with technologies that resist the damaging impact of the sun, preserving color for the lifetime of the home. Options, like Ply Gem’s Mastic Vinyl Siding SolarDefense Reflective Technology, expand exterior home design with darker, on-trend colors that can make your home the envy of the neighborhood.
Design & color
Today, the most overwhelming decision for many when considering siding options can be style and color — but it doesn’t need to be. There are several primary siding material options available to homeowners — vinyl, aluminum, steel, wood, brick, fiber cement, stucco and stone — and countless color and style options within each material type. To help you determine what might look best, seek the advice of a siding specialist like a contractor, builder or architect for help. They can educate you on color coordination and what would go well with the neighborhood, while still giving personalized options for your home. Also check out online resources like Ply Gem’s home exterior visualizer to experiment with different options and customize your style.
“In recent years, homeowners have been getting more creative and choosing bolder colorful options for their exterior,” said Pat Verlodt, president of Color Services & Associates, an organization that identifies color trends and educates consumers and manufacturers about those trends. “Whether you’re looking for a certain period-specific color scheme to align with historical significance, for a new palette to freshen up your curb appeal, or for a specific panel texture, such as cedar shake or wood clapboard, my recommendation is to look at vinyl. It provides the homeowner the freedom to add low-maintenance color and definition that will never go out of style or need painting or refinishing.”
In fact, more than 400 vinyl siding colors have been certified for color retention, according to the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI). The variety offers homeowners a virtually endless palette of fade-resistant colors, from pastels to deep hues, combined with trim, accents and accessories. Look to manufacturers like Ply Gem that offer complementary solutions for the entire exterior.
Beyond style and color, homeowners are also seeking siding that is low maintenance, which reduces or eliminates the cost and personal time expended for proper upkeep. Each siding material type has a different level of care and maintenance required. Vinyl typically requires just soap and water for periodic cleaning, and no need to paint, stain or caulk, which means little maintenance over the long term. Wood and fiber cement can require repainting every five to seven years. Stucco will need to be repainted and sealed. Brick and stone require repointing of mortar. The earlier point about durability plays a part here too, ensuring that the option you select is free from potential time-consuming and costly repairs due to storm damage such as wind and moisture.
Lastly, establish a financial plan and budget. By doing this homework up front, you can have a more informed consultation with potential contractors and better ensure that estimates are aligned with your budget. Don’t forget that sometimes investing a little more into the project up front may reduce issues and maintenance costs down the road.
As you look to select new exterior siding, be sure to keep in mind these important factors — durability, design, maintenance and affordability — to make the best choice possible for your home and lifestyle. To get started on siding your house, look to manufacturer websites such as plygem.com for siding choices, as well as home visualizer and color selection tools that help homeowners experiment with different colors and textures before making a decision.
(BPT) - If current design trends are any indication, wood siding is back. Design professionals are recommending one species in particular: cypress. What’s behind this revival of cypress siding?
“Good looks, dependable performance and affordability,” says Stephen Logue of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, www.CypressInfo.org. “Cypress has a unique appearance with its honey-like hues and intriguing grain pattern. Its ability to withstand the elements and nature has long made it a favorite siding material in areas of the country that experience constant heat, high humidity and torrential rains. Additionally, cypress is a competitively priced material. We see it being requested more and more.”
Architects side with cypress: Take it from the pros
Atlanta-based architect Daniel Martin says he recommends cypress to clients based on his firsthand experience with the unique wood.
“The performance is great,” Martin says. “I’ve had cypress siding on my own home for more than 20 years, and I’ve only had to repaint it once in that time. One of the main reasons I recommend cypress is because it’s resistant to decay, as well as insects like termites and bees. Carpenter bees love some other species of wood, such as cedar. They’ll bore in and lay their eggs, and then woodpeckers come along and gouge out grooves to get to the eggs, destroying the wood. That’s not an issue with cypress.”
As Martin has learned, cypress comes by its durability naturally, thanks to an oil that is produced while the tree is growing. The oil acts as a preservative, meaning cypress wood doesn’t need to be pressure treated with chemicals like some other wood siding options.
David and Laurel Mullikin, a husband-and-wife design/build duo in Atlanta, say they use cypress regularly in outdoor applications.
“We’ve designed some of our best projects with cypress,” Laurel says. “It’s one of our favorite species of wood to use. In fact, we’re currently designing our own new home. We are incorporating cypress as the ceilings for our porches, adding a lot of aesthetic warmth to a part of the house many people overlook. And we’re using cypress siding and finishing it with the Shou Sugi Ban method, which involves charring the surface of the wood and then sanding and sealing it. The process not only provides a unique look to an already beautiful wood, but also enhances its natural durability."
For the best performance
As with any wood siding, cypress will require a little TLC every now and then to look and perform best. With properly applied finishes and regular maintenance, cypress siding will last a lifetime or longer.
Whether installing new cypress siding or refreshing existing wood, the first step is to make sure its surface is clean so that it can better absorb the desired finish. Wash the wood with a mild bleach-and-water solution, using a pressure washer on a low setting. Let the solution soak for 15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing. Then, allow the wood to dry for about a week. This also is a good time to repair any nail holes and surface irregularities.
Homeowners who prefer cypress’ natural color can preserve the look by applying a clear, water-repellant sealer to all sides and edges of siding boards. It’s also suggested to look for products with a UV inhibitor to block out the sun’s fading rays. Sealers should be reapplied every few years to rejuvenate and protect the wood. If left untreated, over time, cypress will weather to a dark gray.
To bring out the richness of cypress’ grain, semi-transparent, oil-based stains work best. These stains will penetrate the wood, prevent water problems and allow the wood to breathe. Stains typically need to be reapplied every two years.
If you like the clean look of a solid finish, paint it. For best results, apply a 100 percent acrylic latex paint with a compatible primer. It’s also recommended to back prime the boards to avoid any potential moisture issues.
No matter your chosen finish, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results. For more information on cypress, or to get inspired for your next home or renovation project, visit www.CypressInfo.org.
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