Door and garage door remodeling

7 Smart Exterior Upgrades That Add the Most Value To A House

Exterior upgrades by Custom Exteriors

7 Smart exterior upgrades that add the most value to a house

Let’s be realistic: when you decide to spend money upgrading your home, your exterior is generally not high on the list of possible projects. We find that odd, not because we have dedicated our careers to exterior remodeling, but rather because it is literally the first impression of each and every one of your guests. So when we discuss exterior remodeling, in addition to boosting your home’s curb appeal, we are talking about making smart investments that actually pay off. And by ‘pay off,’ we mean adding real, tangible value to your house. 

When trying to choose the best exterior upgrades for the money, the talk should be about projects that will not only make your house look amazing but also slap that higher price on your home. 

Smart exterior remodeling isn’t just throwing cash at every new trend. Rather, it’s about choosing smart upgrades. Upgrades that look great, work hard behind the scenes, and give your home’s curb appeal and value a boost. It’s a practical, financially responsible investment that pays off in the long run. As you will see, investing in your home’s exterior is one of the smartest moves you can make for your property’s future. Let’s find out exactly what you should do to increase the value and curb appeal of your home! 

1. High-quality siding replacement

When choosing a home exterior improvement project that adds to your curb appeal and also adds real value to your property, a high-quality siding replacement easily takes the number one spot. The exterior of your home is the first impression every guest gets when they arrive at your home. On most homes in our area, the largest portion of that exterior is made up of siding! With decades of experience in the construction and remodeling world, we have rarely seen an exterior remodeling project with as much impact as a well-designed siding replacement project. 

Whether we are talking about stained cedar siding paired with black accents, creating a modern masterpiece, or the intricately designed and painted siding accents on a historical home, your siding makes (or breaks) your exterior. 

Siding replacement by Custom Exteriors

The financial wisdom in siding replacement

According to industry reports, siding replacement has one of the highest ROI among home improvement projects. A 2019 Cost vs. Value report states that, on average, homeowners can expect up to an 80 percent return on their siding investment, depending on the material used. 

It is not just a matter of percentages; siding replacement can also have a dramatic impact on your home’s curb appeal. It’s no secret that first impressions are important. Worn or dated siding can deter potential buyers, and the negative impact on your home’s first impression can distract from even the most beautiful interiors. In addition to the financial and aesthetic gains, new siding also provides many other benefits, including: 

Curb appeal for any style

Replacement siding is available in many styles and colors. Fiber cement, vinyl, wood, and engineered wood siding all come with great returns on your investment. With so many materials and styles of siding available, there is a siding product that pairs perfectly with your project. Whether you are looking for a cost-effective vinyl siding replacement or are creating a modern masterpiece with panel-style siding, the options are endless. 

In addition to the increased curb appeal, most modern siding replacements come with or can be paired with energy-efficient options designed to increase your home’s insulation significantly. We recently completed a complex of homes in our Colorado mountains. During the replacement process, the community opted to unlay the siding with house-insulating panels. This small addition made a huge difference in meeting the energy goals in their community. 

Additionally, the government often offers incentives for energy-saving home improvements, which can contribute to overall savings. These incentives can significantly increase the benefits of a siding replacement project. 

As exterior remodeling contractors, it is our professional opinion that siding replacement isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade. It is a strategic investment that can improve energy efficiency, boost curb appeal, and offer a high ROI. Due to these factors and the dramatic impact siding can have on your property, we put it on the top of the list for exterior improvements that add the most value to your home. 

2. Energy-efficient window upgrades

Let’s talk about windows. They are the home improvement projects that people know they need to do, but the expense often hinders the progress. Many homeowners we have encountered can actually feel a draft when they are near their windows. Our clients have expressed energy bills climbing during extreme temperature season and signs of condensation in the panes as signs that their windows are an issue. 

The benefits of energy-efficient windows

Firstly, energy-efficient windows play a huge role in keeping your home comfortable and your bills low. Modern replacement windows are designed to keep your home comfortable regardless of the outside temperature and your energy bills low. Quality windows are designed to prevent heat from escaping during the winter and keep cool air inside during the summer. Because of this important task, quality windows can save you up to 25%-30% on heating and cooling energy use. Other benefits of energy-efficient windows include: 

Infographic created by Custom Exteriors highlighting the benefits of new windows

How to save money and make the right choice for your home

Part of the value of replacement windows is a long game. While many of the benefits, such as increased home value, are immediate, the real benefit of new windows accumulates over time. The reduction in energy costs adds up over time, and many of our customers find that their windows pay for themselves over time with the savings they accumulate. So, they’re basically free, right? 

When picking out the style of windows, choose windows that complement the other features of your home. It’s also important to select windows verified by the NFRC. This means they have been tested for their energy-saving properties. You’ll see labels with terms like U-factor, which measures how well a window insulates, or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, indicating how much solar heat the window lets in. The lower these numbers, the better the window will perform. 

Even the best window can’t do its job if it isn’t installed correctly. Ensure a professional window installation to make full use of the windows’ features – otherwise, you might not get all the benefits, and it could void the warranty. 

By being a smart homeowner and choosing energy-efficient windows, you’re taking control of your comfort and your energy bills and even doing your part for the environment. Replacement windows are a sensible yet powerful update for your home and a move that will pay off in more ways than one. 

3. Modern roof replacement

Replacing an old or worn-out roof might not be as exciting as a kitchen makeover, but it’s one of the smartest investments you can make. Let’s explore why a new roof gives a great return on investment and should definitely be a part of your exterior remodel plan. 

Asphalt roof replacement by Custom Exteriors, a Greeley roofing contractor

A new roof is a smart investment

While there is debate on the actual ROI of a roof replacement, estimates vary from 68% to 109%, one thing is sure. Your roof serves as the only line of defense from above for everything our severe weather throws at it. Even if the ROI were 1%, it would still be a sound investment simply due to the protection it provides. Over time, an old roof can get damaged, leading to leaks and water damage. A new roof protects you from this damage and can save you the substantial costs associated with it. 

Custom Curb appeal

When someone looks at your home from the street, your roof is one of the most significant parts of your exterior. Whether you like it or not, your roof impacts your home’s first impression. If you ever decide to sell, potential buyers will often judge the condition of your home based on that first impression. A new roof can increase your home’s resale value, making it a practical upgrade that pays off. 

Let’s not forget the customization options that make your roof stand out. You aren’t stuck to a traditional asphalt shingle roof. Metal panels and synthetic shakes are fantastic materials that deliver on looks and durability. Metal roofing comes in many colors and styles. Panel roofs, designed with metal panels, are known for giving your home a sleek, modern look and come in a variety of styles and colors. It’s also known for being incredibly durable and long-lasting. Metal roofs can last up to 70 years!

Investing in a new roof during an exterior remodel is an opportunity to improve your home’s protection, style, and value all at once. With the addition of custom touches like metal panel accent sections, you’re also giving your house a unique focal point. So, when planning your next remodel, remember that a new roof could be your best investment!

4. new doors and garage doors

Door and garage door remodeling

When choosing an exterior remodeling project for your home, you want something that immediately impacts both ROI and curb appeal. New entry doors, patio doors, and garage doors are not just functional but can be show stoppers visually. Studies indicate that replacing your front door with a steel entry door can return an astounding 101% ROI. Other advantages of replacement entry, garage, and patio doors include: 

According to Angi, you can expect an average return on investment for a garage door replacement at 94%. 

Replacement entry doors come in many styles, materials, sizes, and colors. They are one of the simplest exterior remodeling projects, as a quick coat of paint on your front door can change the look of your entire exterior. It’s clear that when you are searching for an affordable but impactful remodel, a front door refresh might just be your quickest way to increased home value. 

5. Deck or Patio addition

We get it. Home improvements can be expensive. They are also about as much fun as watching paint dry (which we can arrange for you if you are into that.) But, when it comes to getting bang for your buck, constructing a deck or laying down a patio is actually loaded with unexpected benefits. 

For starters, a deck or patio can significantly increase your home’s value. A deck has an impressive ROI of 106%! That is an obvious no-brainer. But not only are you increasing your home’s value, but you are adding serious curb appeal and extra living space. A well-designed deck or patio creates a whole new area to enjoy at a fraction of the cost of an actual addition. 

According to Homes.com, adding a new deck will recover 106% of its value when the house is sold. The estimated cost of the project was $9,450, and the estimated added value was $10,000, making it a clear choice for remodeling ROI.

Increased Function at a fraction of the cost

It’s no secret that a full-blown home expansion is pricey. However, a deck or patio allows you to gain living space, but not at the expense of actual living space. With this in mind, adding a deck or patio is a smart move for both function and budget. It costs less than an addition but still creates a comfortable space for your family to enjoy. 

A deck or patio looks great, provides an additional area to enjoy, and is a strategic move that pays off. Literally. Your new deck provides many benefits beyond just an increase in home value including:

A deck offers many tangible benefits, from financial gain to the intangible joys of spending time in the great outdoors. Making this addition to your home promises countless days of enjoyment and relaxation. 

6. Gutter replacement, repair, & Maintenance

Gutters play an important role in home maintenance, yet they are often overlooked until problems arise. Maintaining, replacing, or repairing your gutters is a strategic move that prevents costly damage. This simple exterior maintenance task helps keep the value of your home high and avoid the significant expenses associated with foundation repairs and water damage. 

Routine gutter maintenance is not optional. It’s also not an exaggeration to say that the health of your home depends on functional gutters that effectively channel rainwater away from your home. Without properly functioning gutters, you risk issues like basement flooding, eroded landscaping, weakened siding, and mold or mildew. All of those problems come with an expensive repair bill. The picture below is an example of what a lack of gutter maintenance can do to your home. Our crews located this while replacing the siding on a property, and it drastically increased the cost of the renovation. 

Lack of gutter maintenance creating mold issues discovered by Custom Exteriors during a siding replacement

Beyond just maintenance

There are gutter options like copper and other specialty gutters that create a dramatic look for your home’s exterior and help raise the value of the home at the same time. Copper gutters, for example, age beautifully over time, acquiring a patina that can make your home stand out in the best way possible. Our crews just finished a gutter installation where the homeowner chose black gutters and downspouts. It created a dramatic impact and added a sleek, modern look to a home that was actually built in the 1970s.

Your gutters may not seem like a glamorous addition to your home. However, they can be a visual focal point with a bold choice like copper or black. Regardless, the diligent maintenance and timely replacement of your gutter system is imperative to the structural integrity and appearance of your property. 

7. Exterior light solutions

According to Homes.com, adding a new deck will recover 106% of its value when the house is sold. The estimated cost of the project was $9,450, and the estimated added value was $10,000, making it a clear choice for remodeling ROI.

Exterior lighting is a valuable exterior upgrade

Exterior lighting is an often underrated but crucial upgrade. The right lighting can dramatically improve the look and feel of your home, not to mention enhancing your home’s security. Whether it’s path lights leading up to your front door, floodlights for security, accent lighting to showcase an accent wall, or your favorite landscaping, each will improve the appearance, security, and value of your home. Our favorite ways to add value while creating an inviting and functional outdoor space through lighting are: 

1. Layered Lighting:

Layered lighting systems can be an in-depth and sometimes expensive task. It is achieved by utilizing a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create depth and interest in your yard and on the exterior of your home. 

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination (wall-mounted lights, post lights, and ceiling lights.) This kind of lighting is used to provide broad illumination to an outdoor area. Task lighting focuses light on specific areas for security purposes. Task lighting examples include pathway lighting, security lighting (often on motion sensors,) and accent deck lights. Accent lighting is used to highlight features of your property or landscape and draw attention to specific points. Exterior accent lights include spotlights, garden lights, lights integrated into walls or steps, and underwater lighting.

2. Pathway Lighting:

Some exterior projects aren’t difficult or expensive. One of those is pathway lights. While you won’t achieve the impact of a layered lighting system, you will see a dramatic improvement in both your exterior safety (providing a clear, well-lit path to your door) and your curb appeal. A well-lit walkway adds a welcoming glow that guides guests to your door. 

The great thing about pathway lights is they are relatively inexpensive and an easy DIY project. Installing solar lights is honestly as easy as driving the provided stake into the ground and setting the light. While low-voltage systems are slightly more difficult, they are still fairly simple to install and generally just plug into an exterior outlet. 

3. Accent Lighting:

Use spotlights, floodlights, or in-ground lighting to draw attention to specific features such as trees, sculptures, or architectural details in your home. This style of lighting not only shows off the best features of your home, it also adds some drama and interest to your exteriors. 

4. Dimmer, Controls, & Color Temperatures:

Incorporating dimmers, timers, and motion sensors allows you to control the intensity and timing of your lighting. This flexibility helps set the mood for different occasions and can increase security and your home’s energy efficiency. 

Choosing the right color temperature for your bulbs can dramatically 

5. Replace outdated lighting

One of the quickest and most affordable ways to upgrade your exterior lighting is to replace dated fixtures with new, stylish choices. Light fixtures are a great way to express your personal tastes and quickly update the look of your home. One thing to consider prior to replacing light fixtures is that our experience shows that when you replace your dated light fixtures with a modern finish, that bright gold door handle is going to look even worse. So, just be aware that it is possible that by replacing your light fixtures, you may create some additional remodeling tasks. 

Choosing the right lighting setup involves considering both the functional aspects, like security and visibility, and the visual aspects. The goal is a balance that meets your needs, fits your budget, and upgrades your exterior appearance at the same time. It’s a relatively simple upgrade that can make a huge impact in the way people see your home. Because of this, you could see a substantial return on your investment. 

According to HGTV, transforming your exterior walkways, landscaping, and patios with outdoor lighting boosts curb appeal and the value of your home. It is the most cost-effective exterior home improvement project for homeowners. 

Get started on your custom exterior

Seven exterior projects that increase your homes value infographic designed by Custom Exteriors

In wrapping up, we circle to the essentials: quality siding, energy-efficient windows, a durable roof, a welcoming deck, impactful doors, well-maintained drainage systems (gutters), and exterior lighting improvements. In our decades of experience in the industry, these seven exterior upgrades stand out as wise investments. They go beyond just curb appeal and create substantial boosts in your home’s value and your personal enjoyment. 

As homeowners, we all want a stylish, welcoming space to enjoy. Making strategic upgrades to our exteriors ensures our property continues to rise in value and creates a beautiful space for us to enjoy in the present. 

Each of the renovations discussed brings its own benefits and charms, so envision your dream home. Choosing one of the seven renovations we have discussed to accomplish it is an investment in your home’s value and the enjoyment of a relaxing sanctuary at your own home. 

Infographic created by Custom Exteriors explaining 3 top things to look for in a commercial painter

The Essential Guide to Exterior Painting for Commercial and Multi-Family Buildings

The Essential guide to exterior painting for commercial and multi-family buildings

Protection against the elements

As the owner or manager of a commercial or multi-family building, you know the value of a good first impression. The exterior of your building is the first thing anyone sees when they arrive. You don’t need the reminder that a good-looking exterior or a freshly painted building can significantly enhance the appeal of your property to prospective tenants and customers alike. In addition to looking great, a properly maintained building sends a message that you care about your property and, by extension, about your tenants and visitors. A well-maintained exterior can attract more customers or tenants, making your property a place where people want to live, work, or shop. 

If you have owned your property for any amount of time, you also understand the need for exterior maintenance for your multi-family or commercial building. When left unchecked, even the smallest of issues, like a clogged gutter, can result in severe and expensive damage to your property. 

Beyond appearances, there’s a practical side to exterior painting that plays a huge role in the health of your building. Quality exterior paint serves as a shield to protect your building. It keeps severe weather, pests, and moisture at bay and can prevent costly repairs down the line. Keeping your building’s exterior in good condition should be viewed as a small investment that can and will save you from larger expenses down the line. 

Long-term costs savings

Because we are talking about commercial properties, the bottom line matters. So, let’s talk about the financial sense it makes to keep your building’s exterior painted and maintained. Ignoring peeling paint or the buildup of dirt and grime can lead to problems that become more expensive to fix over time. For instance, water damage from lack of proper sealing and maintenance can lead to costly repairs in both the interior and exterior of your building. By investing in regular upkeep, you are proactive about preventing future issues, leading to significant cost savings in the long run. Plus, a building that looks good and is well-maintained increases its value over time, which is good for your bottom line. 

 

Choosing the right painting contractor

Selecting the right painting contractor for your commercial or multi-family property isn’t about finding just any contractor. It’s about partnering with a professional who understands the unique needs of your property and can deliver results that enhance its value and visual appeal. It’s about finding a company with the experience required to complete the remodeling tasks at hand with minimal impact on tenants or visitors. From our experience, there are key factors you should consider to make sure you are making the best choice for your property. 

Infographic created by Custom Exteriors explaining 3 top things to look for in a commercial painter

1. Experience and Specialization

First and foremost, look for a contractor with a solid track record of working on commercial and multi-family buildings. These types of properties have specific challenges and requirements, from the scale of the project to the need for durable materials that can handle high-traffic areas. An experienced contractor will not only provide insights into the best practices for your project but also anticipate and manage any potential issues that may arise during the process. Experience also allows a contractor to complete exterior repairs and improvements with minimal impact on the tenants and visitors. 

2. Licensing, Insurance, and references

It’s essential to verify that any contractor you are considering is fully licensed and insured. This protects your property in the event of accidents or damage. Even the best contractors have accidents from time to time. So, ask to see proof of insurance and check that their licensing is up to date. 

Additionally, ask for references and follow up on them. Speaking to other commercial property owners or managers who have worked with the contractor can give you a clearer picture of what to expect. They can share insights on the contractor’s reliability, quality of work, and ability to complete the project on time and within budget. A reputable contractor will be proud to show off their work and provide references without hesitation. 

3. Detailed estimates and contracts

A professional painting contractor should provide you with a detailed estimate outlining the scope of work, the materials that will be used, the timeline, and the cost. This document is crucial because it sets the expectations for both parties and helps avoid misunderstandings later on. Make sure everything you’ve discussed is included in the proposal and that you completely understand each part of it. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything isn’t clear.

The contract should also specify the payment schedule, warranty information, and how changes to the project scope will be handled. A clear, comprehensive contract is the foundation of a successful project. It ensures that you and your contractor are on the page from start to finish. 

Choosing the right painting contractor for your commercial or multi-family property is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By focusing on experience, verifying licensing and insurance, and requesting detailed estimates and contracts, you can select a partner that will not only meet but exceed your expectations. Remember, the goal is to increase the value of your investment, and the right contractor is an important step to achieving that outcome.  

Selecting the right paint for your building

When you think about choosing the paint for your building, your first thought is likely, “What color?” However, choosing the right paint for your building is much more than picking colors that look good together. You need to consider finding the right paint to make your building look great while protecting it for years to come. Based on our experience, there are several key factors you need to consider to make the best choice for your property. 

Infographic made by Custom Exteriors to explain three steps in choosing the right paint for your exterior painting project

1. Types of exterior paints

  1. Acrylic Paints: These are water-based paints known for their durability and flexibility. They work great for most exterior surfaces because they can expand and contract with the building materials during temperature changes, reducing the risk of cracking. Acrylic paints are commonly seen on stucco surfaces or areas that need increased durability. 
  2. Latex Paints: Also water-based, latex paints are the most commonly used paint. They are popular for their ease of application and clean-up. They dry quickly and offer good coverage. This makes them a practical choice for larger projects. 
  3. Oil-Based Paints: Known for their robust and durable finish, oil-based paints are excellent for high-contact areas because they’re resistant to wear and tear. However, they take much longer to dry and require more effort to clean up. 

Choosing between these paint types depends on the specific needs of your building, including the materials of the exterior and the climate of your area. Your painting contractor will assist you in determining which paint will best serve your needs. 

2. Considerations for Climate and Building material

Your local climate plays a significant role in selecting the right paint. For example, properties in areas with high humidity need paint resistant to mold and mildew. Similarly, buildings in regions with intense sun exposure, like Colorado, require UV-resistant paint to prevent fading and deterioration. 

The material of your building is also a determining factor. Wood, masonry, stucco, and metal each have different requirements for adhesion, durability, and protection. A knowledgeable painting contractor can advise you on the best type of paint for your building’s material and the environmental conditions. 

3. Color Selection and Curb appeal

While functionality should be your primary concern, the aesthetic appeal of your paint selection can’t be overlooked. The right color can transform your property, making it more attractive to tenants and customers. Did you know that according to Zillow, homes with black front doors can sell for up to $6,000 more than similar homes? With this in mind, consider colors that reflect your brand image or blend well with the surrounding environment. Additionally, many areas have regulations on the colors you can use, so it’s important to be aware of these guidelines before making your final decision. 

According to Zillow, 77% of realtors recommended their customers repaint the exterior of their homes before a sale. A newly painted property can boost your curb appeal and selling price for a relatively low installation cost. 

When selecting paint colors, also think about longevity and maintenance requirements. Darker colors might fade faster in sunny areas, while lighter colors can help hide dust and reduce heat absorption, making them a great eco-friendly choice. 

Choosing the right paint for your commercial or multi-family property is a critical decision both in protection and increased curb appeal. Remember, consulting with a professional painting company can provide valuable insights and help you make the best choices for your property. 

Exterior Paint Maintenance: Ensuring durability and Curb Appeal

Maintaining the exterior paint of your property is a crucial part of property management that protects your investment and ensures its continued value over time. Based on our firsthand experience, we can speak to the fact that regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of your paint and your property and prevent costly repairs down the line. Here is what we recommend to keep your building in its best condition with exterior paint maintenance. 

Regular Cleaning and inspection:

Dirt, grime, and pollutants can gather on your building’s exterior over time, not only distracting from its appearance but also potentially damaging the paint. Regular cleaning, at least once a year, can help preserve the paint’s integrity and appearance. This can be done by hand for smaller projects or with a low-pressure wash to remove dirt without damaging your paint. 

informational pro tip to use the lowest setting when using a pressure washer to clean your building

Equally important is the regular inspection of your building’s exterior. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracking, peeling, or fading paint. These can be early indicators of potential problems. Pay special attention to areas exposed to harsh weather conditions like direct sunlight, as these are more likely to show signs of deterioration. 

Touch-up Strategies:

When you notice minor issues during your inspections, such as small cracks or chips, it’s important to address them promptly. Touching up these areas can prevent water infiltration and further damage, extending the life of your paint job and the investment you made in it. Matching the original paint color, type, and sheen is crucial for a seamless repair, so always keep records of the paint used on your property. Your painting contractor should be able to provide these details for your records. 

Professional Maintenance and Repainting:

Even with diligent maintenance, exterior paint will eventually need to be repainted. The frequency of repainting depends on several factors, including the quality of the previous paint job, the type of paint used, and the local climate. Typically, a well-done exterior paint job can last in excess of 10 years. 

When it’s time to repaint, consult with a professional painting contractor. They will be able to assess the condition of your existing paint, prepare the surface properly, and apply the new paint in a way that maximizes its lifespan and curb appeal. 

Wrapping it up: The lasting benefits of quality exterior painting

The appearance of your commercial or multi-family property is significantly influenced by the quality of its exterior paint job. Each step is crucial in protecting your investment, from the initial selection of the right paint and contractor to the ongoing maintenance and eventual repainting. A well-chosen and maintained exterior not only creates a positive first impression but also serves as a protective barrier against environmental elements, extending the lifespan of the building itself. 

Regular cleaning, inspections, and touch-ups play a vital role in maintaining the building’s curb appeal and structural integrity. By promptly addressing minor issues, you will avoid more significant repairs. 

Ultimately, the effort and resources invested in selecting the right paint, hiring the right contractor, and maintaining the exterior of your property pay off by increasing its value, attracting and retaining tenants, and projecting a professional image. As a commercial building owner, your proactive approach to exterior maintenance is a testament to your commitment to excellence and the long-term success of your property. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your property remains a desirable and profitable asset for years to come. 

Exterior maintenance services in Loveland

Spring Forward: The Ultimate Guide to Exterior Home Maintenance

Spring Forward: The ultimate guide to exterior home maintenance

As the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer, most homeowners are preparing for the daunting task of spring cleaning and exterior maintenance on their homes. Exterior maintenance is more than just the appearance of your home; it’s also an essential part of maintaining the value and function of one of your most significant assets. In Colorado, the exteriors of our homes are the first line of defense for some harsh weather conditions. We have hundreds of days of direct sunlight, heavy winds, large hail, and many other conditions that can take a toll on the exterior of your home. Without regular maintenance, minor issues can quickly turn into costly repairs. For example, as an exterior contractor, we have seen clogged gutters result in water damage, mold, and worse. Neglected roofs develop leaks that cause interior damage, and most exterior systems can significantly impact interior systems when left unmaintained. 

More than that, the exterior of your home is often the first thing people see and forms their first impressions when visiting. Regular cleaning and maintenance not only improves your home’s curb appeal but also contributes to the overall look of your neighborhood. And it prevents you from being THAT house. It’s about taking pride in your home’s appearance and ensuring it reflects the care and attention you put into it. 

Spring, with its milder weather and longer days, is the perfect time for exterior maintenance. It’s like spring cleaning for your exteriors, if you will. After the harsh winter months, spring cleaning allows you to address any damage caused by the cold and wet conditions. It’s a time to clear away debris, clean surfaces, and prepare your home for the warmer months ahead. Seasonal cleaning and exterior maintenance ensure your home looks its best and functions correctly. By making this a yearly ritual, you can catch potential problems early, maintain the structural integrity of your home, and even enhance its market value. 

In this guide, we’ll cover essential maintenance and cleaning tasks to ensure your home looks great and stays in top condition. Our experience shows us that you need the following items on your exterior spring cleaning list: 

Plus, we’ll touch on ten additional outdoor maintenance tasks that are key for springtime care. 

Whether you’re a long-time homeowner or new to home maintenance, we have taken the experience our team has gained in decades of exterior construction and compiled a guide that covers most exterior maintenance issues. With prices of just about everything on the rise, we want to help you save some of your hard-earned cash by handling these tasks yourself! And by being proactive about maintenance, you are more likely to prevent costly repairs down the line. So, let’s get your house ready for those summer BBQs!

According to Thumbtack, the average home maintenance costs in 2023 rose to $6548. This is up $400 from just one year prior, which makes saving on home maintenance costs a must for today's homeowners. 

Gutter care 101: Preventing damage with routine gutter maintenance

Gutter cleaning is a task that shouldn’t be overlooked in your spring maintenance. Yes, it is a chore. It requires a ladder, is messy, and is one of our least favorite exterior chores. However, it’s a vital step in protecting your home. Take a look at the picture below. One of our crews found this during a recent siding replacement job. If this doesn’t explain why keeping your gutters clear is so important and what could happen if left neglected, I don’t know what will. 

Lack of gutter maintenance creating mold issues discovered by Custom Exteriors during a siding replacement

Your gutters play an essential role in directing the rainwater on your roof away from your home. If they are clogged with leaves, twigs, and debris, this water won’t be able to flow freely. This can lead to serious problems, like water damage to the roof, walls, and your home’s foundation. In extreme cases, overflowing water can create damp conditions ideal for mold and pests. If you live in an area with cold winters, clogged gutters are one of the main culprits of ice dams. Regular gutter cleaning can prevent these issues, ensuring water is efficiently channeled away from your home. 

So, let’s talk about how you can clean your gutters. Here are three of the top methods: 

Hand Cleaning:

Let’s start by saying this is the most disgusting method. You will be digging hands first into your gutters full of debris, rotting leaves, and possibly worse. However, it is also an easy and straightforward way to get the job done. Grab a ladder, gloves, and a bucket. Carefully set up your ladder and remove the debris by hand. While this approach is straightforward and requires no tools, it can be more time-consuming and requires a basic knowledge of ladder safety

Gutter Scoop or garden trowel:

A gutter scoop is a small, shovel-like scoop designed to fit perfectly in your gutters to remove debris. Its flexible PVC design, which is just over a foot long and close to four inches deep, allows you to scoop large sections of debris at once. You can purchase one at most local home improvement stores for under five dollars. You will still need to climb a ladder, so consider your physical limitations prior to purchasing a gutter scoop. However, if you are comfortable at heights, its design allows you to increase the speed at which you complete the project due to its size.  

Leaf Blower or Hose:

If the debris is dry and you are comfortable at heights, a leaf blower is the fastest and easiest way to clear your gutters. Alternatively, using a hose with an extended spray attachment or a power washer allows you to clean your gutters from the ground if you are uncomfortable with heights. That being said, this is the messiest of all of the techniques, so be prepared to get a little wet! Because of its efficiency, this method is the one used by our maintenance technicians. With the strategic use of buckets and tarps, gutter cleaning with a leaf blower or power washer is fast and effective. 

It’s important to remember that while gutter cleaning seems like a hassle, it is essential to keeping your home in good shape. Keeping your gutters clean and water directed away from your home will save you from costly repairs down the line and help keep your home looking great. So, roll up your sleeves and give your gutters some love this spring! 

Window Cleaning and Maintenance: A Clear View to Home Care

According to Angi, hiring a professional to clean the exterior of your windows averages $219, with project pricing ranging from $150 to $302, depending on many factors, including size and the number of windows in your home. 

No one likes cleaning windows. Most homeowners rarely clean the inside of their windows, much less the outside. This is often because they are more challenging to get to and substantially dirtier. Also, it seems difficult to avoid streaks and smudges, and it often feels like it’s just not worth the effort. However, professional window cleaning is expensive, with prices going nowhere but up. Also, there are many benefits to including your windows on your spring cleaning list, including: 

While all of these benefits are great, from a contractor’s perspective, by adding a bi-annual window cleaning and inspection to your maintenance list, you are able to detect damage that could create larger problems down the line. Take a look at photos from a recent job where we encountered serious damage from a basic lack of maintenance. So, let’s break down the easiest ways to wash your windows and what else to look for during the process. 

The progression of water damage located by the maintenance team at Custom Exteriors

Easy ways to wash windows

1. Soap and Water:

Sometimes, the simplest methods are the best. Mix a mild detergent with warm water. Use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the glass gently. 

2. Squeegee Method:

Most professional window cleaners use a mix of methods, one and two. After washing with soap and water, use a squeegee for a streak-free finish. Wipe the squeegee blade with a clean cloth between strokes. Pro tip: Work your squeegee from the top of the window to the bottom and use your clean cloth to remove any residual water from the bottom of the frame, helping to reduce streaks. A clean and dry squeegee works best for reducing smudging and streaking. 

3. Vinegar Solution:

For those looking for a more natural or DIY cleaning solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and water. It’s excellent for removing tough grime, and, as a bonus, it’s eco-friendly! 

Checking for damage

While cleaning your windows, it’s a perfect time to inspect your windows, frames, and surrounding trim for any damage. Even if you choose to skip the window cleaning, a basic inspection of your window glass, frames, caulking, weather stripping, and surrounding trim is recommended. 

Infographic created by Custom Exteriors with the five inspection points for window maintenance

Condensation between panes

If you notice condensation between the panes, it indicates a broken seal. This is not a DIY project and means the window is no longer as energy-efficient as it should be. This requires repairing or replacing and will likely require the services of a professional window replacement company

It’s wise to take this time to assess the conditions of your window screens as well. With summer approaching, functioning, intact screens are a must for fresh air flow in your home. Repairing damaged screens is another project that can be expensive when completed by a professional and is a fairly easy DIY. One of the owners at Custom Exteriors made a step-by-step how-to video to help our customers take on this project confidently. 

At the end of the day, window cleaning and maintenance are about much more than just sparkling glass. It’s also about ensuring the function and efficiency of your home. So, while we recommend adding window cleaning to your exterior spring cleaning checklist, at the very least, take a moment to inspect the elements we discussed. Your home will thank you for it. 

Why caulk sealing is important

Caulking is used to seal the gaps and joints in your home – around windows, doors, siding joints, the roof, and even corners where different materials meet. It is a barrier to prevent air, water, and insects from entering your home. Keeping caulking in good condition helps maintain your home’s energy efficiency and prevents water damage, which can lead to more expensive repairs. You can quickly increase the energy efficiency of your windows with this simple and inexpensive task. 

Where to inspect your exterior caulking

Removing Damaged Caulk

If you find old, damaged, or cracked caulking, it’s important to remove it before applying new caulk. You can easily do this with a caulk removal tool or a simple utility knife to carefully scrape away the old caulking. Be gentle to avoid damaging the surface underneath. After removing the old caulking and before replacing it, clean the area with some soapy water to remove any residue or dirt. Let it dry completely before replacing the caulking. Recaulking too quickly can trap moisture behind your caulking and cause mold or rot in the long run.

Replacing the Caulking

A silicone-based caulk is best for most exterior jobs as it is weather-resistant and flexible. Caulking comes in a variety of colors, so matching your existing caulking color should be simple with a trip to your local home improvement store. 

Once you have the correct caulking, cut the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle. This makes it easier to apply in a smooth line. Hold the caulk gun at a consistent angle and gently squeeze the trigger to apply the caulk in a steady line. Try to keep the motion consistent for an even application. Once you have applied a thin line of caulking, wet your finger and run it along the caulk line to smooth it out. This also helps push the caulking into the gap for a better seal. 

Pro Tips For Exterior Caulking:

Remember, maintaining the caulking on the exterior of your home is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to protect your home from the elements and keep it energy-efficient. Plus, it keeps your home looking neat and well-kept, so take a little time to inspect and fix up any old caulking. 

Cleaning and Maintaining your exterior paint and siding

It’s obvious why your siding and exterior paint are on this list. They make up the largest portion of your home’s facade and have the most impact in regards to the curb appeal of your home. Unfortunately, with time, they start looking dirty and dingy. In Colorado, long, snowy winters create dirty messes that can impact the appearance of your siding. The areas directly surrounding our homes are often exposed to dirt. Combine this with water, and your siding will likely need a good cleaning come spring. 

Power washing siding

Routine Cleaning of Paint and siding

When cleaning your siding and paint, the most important step is giving it a gentle washing. When washing your exterior, whether you choose to use a soft brush and garden hose or a power washer is really just a matter of preference.

If you choose a brush method, use a soft brush and a mixture of mild detergent and water to clean your painted surfaces and siding. After scrubbing, rinse the surfaces with a garden hose. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive tools that can damage the paint or siding material. While hand scrubbing has the advantage of being a thorough job, it will take substantially more time to complete. Additionally, higher elevations are more difficult to clean with this method, often requiring specialized tools or ladders. 

On the other hand, cleaning your siding with a mild detergent mix through a pressure washer can save tremendous amounts of time while still effectively cleaning the surface of your home. If this method is preferred, start with the lowest pressure and gradually work up to the pressure needed to clean the siding and painted surfaces. Pressure washers with the pressure set too high can damage the siding and remove exterior paint. This can be an extremely expensive mistake if the siding is damaged enough to warrant repairs. High-pressure water can easily break a hole in vinyl siding or tunnel out indents in wood or engineered siding. 

When spraying your home with your hose or pressure washer, be cautious not to force water behind the siding. Most newer homes are covered with a moisture barrier wrap. However, older homes often don’t have this protection. Either way, be cognizant of the direction of your spray, trying to avoid spraying the gaps in your siding laps directly. 

Inspecting and maintaining Paint and siding

While cleaning, it’s the perfect time to inspect your siding and painted areas for any issues. The main concerns to look for are: 

Look for areas where the paint is peeling or chipping. The elevation of the house that receives the most direct sunlight is also most susceptible to peeling paint or fading caused by UV rays. Faded or peeling paint is nearing the end of its useful life. While it can be unsightly, the protection quality paint provides to your siding should be the primary consideration. If it has peeled off or is significantly faded, your siding is at risk for damage, and the paint should be repainted or touched up. 

Check for cracks, warping, or damage to siding panels, which can lead to more significant problems like moisture intrusion. Some types of siding, such as fiber cement siding products, are more prone to cracking. They can crack over time if not installed properly, exposing your home to possible water damage. 

Both damaged paint and siding can lead to water damage. It’s essential to watch for signs of mold and mildew, especially in shaded or moisture-prone areas.

The best practices for maintaining your exterior paint and siding are to clean them at least once a year to remove grime and built-up dirt and address any damages quickly with high-quality replacement products. 

Pro Tips For siding and paint maintenance

Remember that regular exterior maintenance of your home’s exterior paint and siding keeps it looking beautiful and protects it from wear and tear. By following these simple steps and staying vigilant for any signs of damage, you can keep your home in excellent condition for years. 

Roof Maintenance: keeping your home's top in tip-top shape

When you think of spring cleaning or even exterior maintenance, your roof often doesn’t make the list. However, taking care of your roof is a big part of maintaining your home’s health. Let’s talk about how to keep your roof in great condition, what to look for during a roof inspection, and some important things to remember. When we talk about “cleaning the roof,” many picture the same process that was used for the siding on the home. However, cleaning and maintaining your roof looks very different from most of the exterior components of your home. Cleaning and maintaining your roof consists of 3 crucial steps. 

Remove Overhanging Branches and organic growth

If you have trees or shrubs near your home, make sure the branches don’t hang over your roof. Overhanging branches can drop leaves and debris, leading to clogs in your gutters. Additionally, during severe wind storms, we have seen many large branches fall and severely damage the roof and exterior of the home. When trimming overhanging branches, be aware of your surroundings, as power lines can be buried in the branches of the tree, making them difficult to see. This may be a project for which you hire a professional, depending on your skill level. 

Not often in Colorado, but in more humid climates, you might see green moss or other growth on your roof. It’s important to gently remove these, as they can trap moisture on your roof and cause interior damage. 

Conducting a roof inspection

It’s wise to check the overall condition of your roof twice a year by performing a thorough roof inspection. Check if any shingles are cracked, bent, or missing. These are signs your roof might need some repairs. Take note of the condition of roof flashing (the metal surrounding the penetrations in your roof and along any walls that meet your roof) to check for rusting or damage. This flashing is the first line of defense towards redirecting water off the roof and through the gutters and not into your home in the form of water damage. It’s also a good time to inspect all of the parts of your roof and the vents, soft metals, and drip edge for signs of damage. 

It’s also a good time to look inside your home for signs of leaks like water stains on your ceiling. This could be an issue with a traditional leak due to water intrusion or improper roof ventilation. Either way, it’s best to catch it quickly to prevent water damage, roof sagging, and rot. 

Cleaning your asphalt shingle roof

For asphalt shingle roofs, particularly, it’s important not to wash them with high pressure. Asphalt shingle roofs are coated with small granules that can be dislodged with high water pressure. “Cleaning” your roof is more about removing larger debris and inspecting for vulnerable areas that could allow water intrusion. 

If your roof needs actual cleaning, using the gentlest method possible is best. Sometimes, a light spray with a garden hose is all you need. Never use harsh chemicals or heavy pressure, as you may ruin your roof in the process. 

Your roof is by far the most challenging system regarding exterior maintenance. If you are unsure about the safety of the inspection process, it’s best to call a professional roofing company. If you decide to inspect your roof, be very careful. Some customers have told us they use binoculars from the ground to overview the roof’s condition quickly. Whether you are doing it yourself or calling in a professional because of its important purpose, it’s good to look at your roof regularly and catch any issues promptly. 

Deck and patio furniture: Keeping your outdoor spaces inviting and safe

Your deck and outdoor furniture are important parts of enjoying your home. Let’s go through some simple steps to keep them looking great and staying safe for you and your family. 

Deck Maintenance

Patio Furniture care

Additional areas in need of spring maintenance

Wrapping it up: Your guide to a well-maintained home exterior

And there we have it! We’ve covered a lot, from the importance of gutter cleaning to keeping your windows, roof, and deck in top shape. Taking care of your exterior isn’t just about making it look good. As we have discovered, it’s the key to protecting your home and ensuring it stays solid and safe for years. 

Keeping up with these maintenance tasks can seem like a lot, but it’s really about small, regular checks and fixes. This way, you avoid big problems and expensive repairs later on. 

Don’t be afraid to call in the professionals when you need to, especially for tasks that might be too big or dangerous to do on your own. And always remember, your safety should always be your primary concern. While DIY projects are nice due to a sense of accomplishment and money savings, your safety is more important than any money saved. 

By following these simple tips and keeping an eye on your home’s exterior, you’re taking care of a place full of memories and special moments. So, grab that ladder, that bucket of paint, or just your garden hose, and give your home the love and care it deserves. Here’s to a home that looks as wonderful on the outside as it feels on the inside. 

Infographic explaining the qualities of the 5 main paint sheens, flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and glossy

Choosing The Right Exterior Paint: A Comprehensive Guide For Homeowners

Choosing the right exterior paint:
A comprehensive guide

Painting the exterior of your home is no small feat. It’s a significant investment, both in time and resources. As such, selecting the right type of paint is essential, ensuring that your home looks stunning and remains protected against the elements.

Moreover, the paint you choose is the first line of defense against nature’s unpredictable weather – from scorching sun rays to icy cold snaps. A properly painted home can resist weather damage, mold growth, and even insect infestations. But the question remains: amidst the plethora of brands, finishes, and shades, how do you pinpoint the perfect paint for your needs? It is more than just picking a color you like. It’s also about understanding what works best for the material of your home, your climate, and the desired longevity of your new paint job. 

You are not alone if you’re feeling lost amidst the vast array of paint choices. This guide aims to simplify the process, providing you with the knowledge and tips you need to make informed decisions about your exterior remodel. You can then be confident that you have made the best decision for your home. 

Understanding the basics: Types of exterior paints

When repainting your home’s exterior, the first decision often revolves around the base of the paint. Essentially, paint falls into two primary categories: water-based, commonly referred to as latex, and oil-based, known as alkyd. 

Water-Based Wonders: Understanding Latex Paints

Water-based or latex paints have become increasingly popular in recent years. One of their standout qualities is the quick drying time, which allows for fast project completion. This rapid drying is especially beneficial if you’re painting in regions with unpredictable weather, as it reduces the chances of the paint being affected by sudden rain showers. Another advantage of latex paints is their easy clean-up process using just soap and water. Compared to their oil-based counterparts, they have a lower odor, making them a popular choice for many homeowners. However, while latex paint excels in many areas, it struggles to adhere to surfaces previously painted with oil-based paint. 

Oil-Based Insights: Delving into Alkyd paints

On the other hand, oil-based or alkyd paints bring a different set of advantages to the table. Their application is often smoother, resulting in a more uniform finish. The result often boasts a durable, glossy finish that stands the test of time. This durability is why many professionals and homeowners opt for oil-based paints for areas exposed to significant wear and tear. Furthermore, oil-based paints adhere well to various surfaces, ensuring a long-lasting paint job. However, they are not without their challenges. The drying time for oil-based paints is considerably longer, which might stretch the duration of your painting project. Clean-up is also more involved, requiring mineral spirits instead of the simple soap and water solution that latex paints allow. Additionally, the pungent odor they produce might be off-putting to some people. 

infographic about the pros and cons of oil based paint

Both latex and alkyd paints have their benefits and disadvantages. Your choice between the two should factor in your home’s specific needs, the region’s climate, and your personal preferences, especially concerning drying time and odor. 

The importance of Finish: making the right choice

When we talk about painting our homes, color is often the first thing that comes to mind. However, the finish and sheen of the paint are equally important. This aspect determines how the paint reflects light, affecting its appearance and how it stands up to daily wear and tear. Each finish has different properties, catering to different needs and styles. The sheens available in paint are:

Infographic explaining the qualities of the 5 main paint sheens, flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and glossy

Flat/Matte: The timeless classic

A flat or matte finish is known for its non-reflective properties. This means it doesn’t bounce back much light. Because of this, flat pain has a very muted and soft appearance. A matte finish might be the best choice if your home is older with a story to tell with its imperfections. This is because it is excellent at masking minor blemishes or irregularities on the surface. However, while it’s great at hiding those little flaws, it’s also more susceptible to stains and might require careful cleaning. 

Eggshell: The middle ground

Venturing into a slight sheen, we have the eggshell finish. As the name suggests, it’s reminiscent of the subtle shine on an egg’s shell. This finish is a step up from flat in terms of washability. It strikes a balance, offering some of the concealing properties of matte paints while being easier to clean. So, eggshell could be a great candidate if you’re thinking about painting larger areas like siding. 

Satin: The reliable choice

Satin is a favorite among many homeowners. This finish provides a gentle gloss, which makes surfaces appear more vibrant while not being overly shiny. Its appeal doesn’t stop at aesthetics; satin finishes are known for their durability and ease of maintenance. They are forgiving with cleaning, making them a practical choice for exteriors that are exposed to regular environmental elements. 

Semi-Gloss: The Bright spark

Stepping into a more reflective territory, the semi-gloss finish is all about vibrancy. It reflects light more efficiently, making surfaces stand out. If you have specific architectural features or areas like doors and trim that you’d like to highlight, semi-gloss is a good choice. Its bright nature not only amplifies beauty but also offers excellent durability. 

Glossy: The Bold Statement

The glossy finish is the way to go for those unafraid of making a bold statement. It’s the most reflective of the bunch, providing a shiny, mirror-like appearance. Its high sheen is accompanied by impressive durability. However, with great shine comes great responsibility. A glossy finish accentuates imperfections, making preparation even more critical. 

Choosing the right finish for your home is about understanding its characteristics and aligning them with your home’s needs and desired aesthetic. Then, with this knowledge in hand, you are well-equipped to make informed decisions. These choices will beautify your home and ensure it remains charming for years to come. 

Insider tips for the best paint selection

A beautiful paint job

1. The foundation of painting: Surface preparation

Before diving right in, it’s essential to address the surface that will be painted. A clean, smooth surface can make a world of difference. If there are cracks, fill them in. If there’s old, peeling paint, give the surface a good scrape. And always remember to clean the walls from dust and dirt. 

2. Tune into yor home's needs

Every home is unique, and so are its needs. For instance, a house in a dun-drenched area might benefit from paint with UV protection. Similarly, homes in wetter climates might need paint with mold resistance. By understanding your home’s specific challenges, you can choose paint that beautifies and protects. 

3. The magic of test patches

It’s tempting to pick a color from a swatch and imagine it’ll look exactly the same on a large exterior wall. But, light shadows and surrounding elements can change how a color appears. So, a smart trick is to paint a small test patch on the wall. You can then observe it during different times of the day. This way, you ensure the color looks great under all conditions before committing and painting your entire exterior that color. 

4. Quality over Quantity

It might be tempting to save a few dollars by opting for cheaper paint, but this might cost more in the long run. Higher-quality paints often mean better coverage, longevity, and resistance to the elements. It’s an investment in ensuring your home looks fabulous for extended periods. 

5. Seek expert advice

Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of professional advice. Local paint stores or a local painting company often have experts who understand the unique challenges of your region. They can provide invaluable recommendations tailored to your specific needs. 

Wrapping it up: A painter's parting words

In the world of painting, knowledge truly is power. The proper preparation, paired with a good understanding of your home’s needs, paves the way for a paint job that is not only beautiful but stands the test of time. Remember, it’s not just about color but about making choices that add value, protection, and beauty to your home. With the insights provided, your home’s next coat of paint is sure to be its best yet.