home improvement stuff

Summer is just around the corner, and many people’s thoughts are on backyard clean-up and home improvement projects. With more daylight hours and warmer temperatures, summer is the ideal time to complete these chores. Getting the basic maintenance projects done first gives homeowners more time to plan for major renovations if desired.

Minor Home Improvements

The gutters on the home are a good place to start. They are likely clogged with debris from the long winter and require a major cleaning. Gutters can also become loose or develop a leak. In a recent conversation I had with the owner of a local home remodeling company. He expressed the importance of keeping up with regular gutter maintenance, saying “I can’t tell you how many major siding replacements we have traced back to a faulty gutter. It’s one of those seemingly minor aspects of a house that can have major consequences if ignored.

Homeowners who are up to the task can typically get the gutters into shape in just a few hours. Hiring a professional cleaning crew is also an option for those who are uncomfortable working on a ladder all afternoon.

The shingles on the roof of the home, concrete slabs, and the chimney may all have taken a beating during the winter. Homeowners can do a quick visual inspection to check for cracks or to see if anything needs to be replaced entirely. Simple cracks can be filled in with caulking material or concrete paste. If the homeowner notices a lot of dirt or loose paint, using a power washer is a fast and simple way to improve the home’s appearance. Due to the risks of working on a roof, chimney repairs and replacing loose tiles are best left to professionals.

Indoor Improvements for Better Energy Efficiency

Heating a home in the winter and cooling it in the summer can take a big chunk of a family’s household utility budget. People who have come through an expensive winter are often looking for ways to avoid the same high costs in the summer. Installing a programmable thermostat is an easy and inexpensive way to reduce cooling costs. It keeps the temperature at a consistent level while offering maximum flexibility at the same time. Since most people are away from home during the day, having a programmable thermostat allows them to automatically adjust the indoor temperature an hour or so before the first person is due home for the day.

Ensuring that the home has adequate insulation is another way to save money on utility bills. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t know how much or what type of insulation they should have to match the climate where they live. Energy Star, a program of the United States Department of Energy, publishes recommended amounts of insulation according to regions in the country. Having the right amount of insulation allows for maximum cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

Consider Adding a Backyard Patio

Summer evenings provide families with the opportunity to unwind and enjoy one another’s company. Sitting outside together talking and just watching the stars is a great way to build lasting memories. However, many people have nowhere to sit outdoors. Putting together a patio in the backyard is simple and inexpensive in most cases. It only requires some lawn furniture and possibly a screen tent or outdoor cooking utensils. Once the patio is in place, it makes a fun place to entertain friends and extended family members as well.