By Gates Dearen
What homeowner wouldn’t want his or her house to look its best?
While the term “curb appeal” is generally related to the real estate industry, the concept is a good one to think about even if you aren’t selling (or buying) a home. If it’s been a while since you took a good, objective look at the exterior of your home, now is a great time to assess your home’s appearance, especially in terms of cleanliness, maintenance, and design. We’ll discuss all of these aspects, including paying special attention to your windows and doors. Going through these simple steps can help you determine if it’s time to replace any of your windows and doors; there comes a point when they can’t be fixed, or are otherwise outdated and/or inefficient, and need to be replaced. It can be hard sometimes to look at your house objectively, after all, you see it every day, so taking a picture and examining it in detail will help you spot problems you may miss with the naked eye.
When you look at your home from the street, or from a distance (if your home isn’t visible from the street), what’s your overall impression? Do your windows sparkle? Are your window frames and doorframes clean and intact? Is your entryway free of clutter and debris? The first step to improving the appearance of your home is to wipe off the windows and doors, including the surrounding areas, and sweep the entry area and walkways. Next take a good look at the windows and doors themselves. If you have older windows and doors, keeping them clean can be a greater challenge. While the newer types of frames require only a quick rinse with a hose, and maybe a gentle wipe-down, older frames – especially wooden ones – tend to attract dirt and are more difficult to keep clean. If the frames are chipped or exceedingly dirty, you might also need to apply a new coat of paint. Never use a pressure washer on or around windows; it’s unnecessary and could break the windows.
Once you’ve cleaned and tidied up your home’s exterior, it’s time to do a maintenance check. (For a more detailed discussion of this topic, see our previous article, “Window Maintenance 101: 3 Ways to Keep Your Windows Looking and Functioning Their Best”.) If you have a painted entry door, make sure that the paint doesn’t show signs of weathering. Repainting is a quick task that can add a high-quality look to your door and really freshen things up. Don’t be shy about changing colors; a bright or contrasting color can make your door “pop”. Next, check the weather stripping and caulk around your entry door and all of your windows to make sure they are in good repair. If the weather stripping is damaged, you should replace it or have it replaced by a professional. If you have gaps in the caulk between the wall and the window casing, or around the doorframe, you can fill them yourself. Remember to apply caulk sparingly with a steady hand. (If you aren’t experienced at applying caulk, practice on a piece of newspaper before working around your frames. The small amount of caulk you’ll use to do this is worth not having to remove it from your frames if you get off-track.)
Remember too that maintenance isn’t just about appearance. Are your windows and doors keeping the hot air out and cold air in, and vice versa? If not, no amount of maintenance is going to help. It’s time to replace your windows and/or doors. (For more information on this topic, read our earlier article, “How Do You Check for a Leaky House?”)
The style of your windows and doors is limited only by your imagination. A new entry door with an etched glass or stained-glass panel lets you express yourself while also providing improved security. In addition to the many styles of doors available, add to your unique look with shiny new hardware. Locksets come in many styles and finishes, so they can help you put the perfect finishing touch on your door. Windows, too, come in many styles, including custom types for special needs – or for a special look. Do you have an odd-shaped space in your home that could use more light, or an angled wall that could benefit from a replacement window, perhaps in a new design? Consider a custom window. You’ll find yourself using that wasted space more than ever before! If it’s been awhile since you updated your windows, you may be surprised at not only the number of choices when it comes to design, but also the many recent technologies that greatly improve functionality and energy efficiency. From argon gas between panes to low-emissivity coatings that increase efficiency to better locks that offer ease of use, new windows will not just improve the look of your home. They will enhance your quality of life.
Keeping your home looking its best is easy; it just takes a little bit of time and effort. If you follow the above steps, your home will be the envy of the neighborhood. You’ll reap the rewards of an attractive home and, if you update your windows and doors, better energy efficiency and improved security.
In this article we’ve given three steps to making your home look its best. We discussed the importance of keeping your house, especially your windows and doors, clean and in good repair, and talked about ways you can add distinctive style to your house, improving its curb appeal.
If you would like to receive an official factory authorized 30% discount coupon for your next window replacement purchase, print out this article with the coupon on it and bring it with you when visiting HomeRite.
Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Doors in Jacksonville, Florida. Owners Gates Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving the building products industry in Florida for over 25 years. We know the products, the industry, the market and what adds great value to a home. Our approach is a little different. We strive to match the homeowner with the right windows for their home and budget. Home improvements can be a hassle. We’re here to make life easier with first-rate, energy efficient products; affordable prices; strong warranties and expert, award-winning installers that provide excellent service while respecting your home as if it were their own.