Spruce Up Your Home This Summer

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Summer is home improvement season. The warmer weather is ideal for all kinds of projects around the house, and longer days give contractors more daylight hours for work.

Here are some of the top summer home improvement projects, ranked in order from small to large. Completing one of these projects this summer can make next summer even better, but it’s time to get started if you want to beat the cold weather!

Replace Windows
Drafty windows can increase energy costs during the cold months of winter, and re-caulking can only do so much when it comes to keeping in the heat and keeping out the chill. When it’s time to replace your windows, choose early summer to ensure that the air temperature is between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal caulking. Replacement windows are available in a wide range of styles, materials and price ranges. Many have energy-saving features such as double-paned glass and sun-resistant coatings that will make your home more comfortable while increasing its value.

Refresh Landscaping
According to FortuneBuilders, a leading real estate education company, one of the best ways to boost your home’s value is by improving curb appeal with updated landscaping. Even a small project such as lawn cleanup can make a difference. If your yard heats up in the summer, consider planting trees that will provide future shade or installing a patio cover or pergola. A courtyard or fountain can add interest to your yard in summer, or perhaps you’ll realize you’re sick of yard maintenance and decide to replace your lawn with low-maintenance plants and shrubs.

Add a Deck
This home improvement can provide countless hours of enjoyment for people who love the outdoors. A deck is great for entertaining, al fresco dining and just plain relaxing. Some decks can be used as extensions of the home’s living area for several months of the year, significantly increasing the home’s value. Depending on the home and yard, a deck can be constructed relatively quickly. Starting the project in early summer can still provide weeks of use in late summer and fall.

Repave the Driveway
A driveway with cracked concrete or asphalt can detract from a home’s appearance and even cause a safety hazard. Although some cracks can be repaired, large cracks and potholes are a sign that the ground beneath the driveway has shifted over the years. In this case, the driveway needs to be replaced. Whether you choose asphalt, concrete or a newer option such as pavers, it’s best to avoid both extreme cold and extreme heat when doing the work. This makes early or late summer the ideal time to replace a driveway in many areas.

Replace the Roof
If your roof is more than 15 years old and you’ve noticed leaks, it’s time to think about protecting your home with a new roof. According to roofing experts, roofing contractors prefer working in summer for two reasons: to avoid rain and snow, and to allow new shingles to expand in the summer heat and form a weather-tight seal. Make sure that the existing layer of shingles is removed so that any damage to the underlying roof deck is detected and fixed.

Plan a Pool
Summer is the season when many homeowners dream about installing an in-ground pool. This is the best time to act on the dream and begin to make plans for the future. Spend time in your yard and map out where you think the pool should go. Decide how you will use it, such as for relaxation, exercise or family fun, and begin to look at pool designs. Then there are a few things to investigate: zoning permits, ongoing maintenance and a pool’s effect on your home’s utility bill. Once you’re ready to move forward, you can expect pool construction to take from 3 to 12 weeks, depending on weather conditions and the complexity of the project. Planning your pool this summer means it could be ready for use next summer.

Make Major Changes
Large-scale projects such as home additions can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. They are often scheduled during the summer, especially if outside walls are being removed and the home’s interior will be exposed to outdoor temperatures and moisture. Typical home additions that are better suited for summer completion include second story additions, bathroom additions and garage conversions. For other major projects, it’s best to take into account the supply and demand for contractors in your area. If everyone is getting the same work done at the same time, it can be harder to find a contractor who has time for your project. By waiting until fall or winter, you may even be able to negotiate an off-season discount. ■

Sources: bobvila.com, fortunebuilders.com, homeadvisor.com, houselogic.com and thisoldhouse.com.