7 Exterior Upgrades for a Fresh Summer Look

jstevensonHeating, Cooling, and Plumbing Articles

exterior upgrades

With spring cleaning behind you, it’s time to look beyond your home’s sparkling interior and examine exterior areas that may need some work. Maintaining an efficient and attractive home is a year-round job, but the spring and summer months shine a particularly bright light on your home’s outdoor spaces. Make sure you’re always equipped for an impromptu barbecue or summer get-together by brightening your exterior now. A few simple projects can transform your Bullhead City, Arizona, home. Tackle them all or try just a few to boost your curb appeal this season.

Build a Walkway

A walkway leading up to your front door is a fresh feature that’s both decorative and functional. A well-placed walkway can keep your landscaping looking pristine. If you have a worn area meandering through your yard where the grass is always a bit patchy, you’re probably suffering from unplanned foot traffic; install a designated pathway for your visitors instead.

Your path should be at least four feet wide if you’re plotting out a main walkway to the front door. Secondary paths through a garden or around other parts of the yard can be narrower; something between 30 and 36 inches is usually adequate. Hard materials like brick and stone are ideal for walkways that will see a lot of traffic. Choose a style and color that complements the exterior of your home, considering the color of your siding, fencing, shed, garage, and other prominent features.

Cover Your Condenser

The condenser is the exterior portion of your HVAC system that you see sitting out in the yard. This essential piece of equipment is regularly exposed to the elements, and it requires some special care and attention to stay in peak condition. You should periodically inspect and clean the area around your condenser, aiming to keep it clear of grass, leaves, and debris for three feet in every direction. Your annual HVAC maintenance visit will help keep your condenser clean as well.

If you’d like to do even more for this unit, consider adding a fresh new feature to your yard. Shading the condenser will protect it from the relentless rays of the sun. A cooler condenser will do a better job of cooling your home. You’ll enjoy improved efficiency and lower energy bills.

You can shade the condenser with an awning, a tree, or another tall structure. You can also use a fence or custom construction such as a decorative box to conceal and shade the unit. If you choose one of these options, make sure the slats are placed far apart so your condenser can still breathe.

Refresh Your Driveway

Your driveway takes up a significant portion of your home’s exterior. If your driveway is cracked and damaged, your home’s entire appearance will suffer. The first thing you need to do is clean your driveway with a mild detergent to remove gas and oil spills. Pull that pesky grass that’s growing between the cracks, and trim the grass along the edges of the driveway.

The next step is sealing the asphalt on your driveway. An asphalt sealer will do an efficient job, and the application takes just a day. Stir the sealer according to the manufacturer’s directions, and pour it onto the driveway in four-foot square sections. A squeegee is the most efficient tool for spreading the sealer, though the smooth top of a broom can also work in a pinch.

Soap and water will remove the sealer from unwanted places like your hands and tools. Let the asphalt sealer dry for a full 24 hours, or longer if recommended by the manufacturer.

Seal the Windows

Inspect your windows for cracks, gaps, and holes around the exterior trim. Seal any obvious gaps with caulk, making sure to select a brand that’s designed to stand up to the elements. Caulk along the trim as well — both where it meets the window and where it meets the siding.

Interested in taking your window sealing a step farther? You can enhance the efficiency of your windows and your air conditioning by injecting a foam sealant between the frame of the house and the frame of the windows. By removing the trim, you can install a permanent seal that will work more efficiently than any seasonal caulking job. Pry the window trim off your windows on the exterior only. Fill the opening with expanding spray foam. Don’t touch the foam until it has dried completely, no matter how messy the original application.

Once the foam is dry, you can cut away the excess neatly with a knife. Replace the trim carefully, working in reverse order: If you removed the trim along the top first, you should replace it last. Finish up with a fresh coat of paint and your windows will boast a fresh look and improved efficiency.

Simplify Your Window Treatments

You probably think of window treatments as an interior feature, but they actually affect how your exterior looks as well. Though the inside of your home is segmented into individual rooms, you need to remember that the exterior is visible as a single cohesive piece. If you have dramatically different window treatments in each window, it can look jarring from the outside.

Look for a window treatment that will give your home’s exterior a polished and carefully coordinated look. You can use different colors and patterns inside so long as the backing is a consistent shade. If you can’t settle on a single style for your window treatments, at least make sure they all have the same lining so that they’re color-coordinated from the outside.

Using identical blinds or shades in the windows is another easy way to coordinate windows’ appearance when using different drapery styles inside. The uniformity of the slats’ size, shape, and color will keep your windows looking sharp no matter what else is on the inside.

Update Your Paint Palette

The question of when to repaint your home is more complex than you might think. Some experts might recommend every four to six years, while others extend the estimate as far as 15 years. If your paint is showing its age or you’re simply looking for a bold way to refresh your home’s appearance, repainting is a smart option. For a clean and well-coordinated look, aim for a palette that’s limited to three colors. Use one for the siding, a second shade for the trim, and a third as an accent for special features like a balcony railing or decorative porch columns.

The accent color should be the darkest of the three, while your siding retains a lighter color, often in a neutral shade. If you’re interested in adding decorative trim, brackets, or other features, this is the ideal time to install them. With a fresh coat of paint, you can create a cohesive look between your existing structures and new additions. If your neighborhood has a homeowners’ association, clear your paint colors with the appropriate authority before you begin.

Light Your Home

Exterior lighting can bring your home to life as the sun slips below the horizon. There are several creative ways you can approach landscape lighting. First, look for areas that need additional lighting as a safety measure. Your walkway and door need adequate lighting so that visitors don’t have to stumble their way toward your porch after dark.

You can further enhance your home’s exterior lighting with more whimsical touches. Tuck colorful orbs into the garden, and you’ll enjoy an enchanting nighttime effect that brings fairy revelries to mind. Downlighting mounted in a tree can give a gazebo or garden bench a special touch, beckoning you outside to take in the fresh evening air. If you’re concerned about the added expense of so much lighting, consider solar installations. These will use the endless supply of free energy from the sun to keep your garden glowing.

Exterior updates can enhance the appearance of your home while adding some energy-efficient perks in the right places. If you’re looking for some smart ways to reduce your energy expenses, such as a new air conditioner this summer, contact Ambient Edge at (928) 377-5631. We can help you choose the most beneficial updates for your home.

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