10 ways to upgrade the exterior look of your home
The look and design of the exterior of your home is more important than ever, bump up your kerb appeal, improve the value of your home and increase your day to day pleasure when you return to your property every evening. There are simple tweaks you can make to either a modern or traditional property or bigger changes to your windows, cladding or your front door will help with saleability or add value.
Refresh Renovations can help you explore the options available to you. A few light touch cosmetic changes can make a big difference or if you are looking for something more substantial, an extension, landscaping your garden or a new roof will make a difference with impact. Any home facelift should be done sympathetically to your current house style.
Many see their home for its practicality and how it will serve them as a family but the appearance is very important too. Historic and character properties ooze charm that mass-built homes can often lack which can be off putting to potential buyers. But newer homes aren't always the only ones that would benefit from a makeover, inappropriate exteriors or features, not in keeping with the look of the home, can ruin an older house. Simple repairs or replacements can sometimes be required, tiles may need a more secure fitting if mortar used to fit them has failed, or repointing a property can give it an instant fresh look.
Ready to improve the exterior of your home? Take a look at Refresh Renovations top 10 tips to achieve a great looking home.
It's often worth changing the overall proportions of a building during a significant renovation. Achieve a more pleasing balance or greater symmetry by extending a house upwards or outwards or to replace poorly designed extensions added by previous owners.
Subject to planning permission, a former bungalow can be turned into a spacious family home with the addition of a second storey. Many smaller extensions can be added under PDRs (permitted development rights) without applying for planning permission, especially when at the back or side of a property.
With the exception of listed buildings, a partial demolition does not require planning permission either so you can remove unsightly structures and features freely. Always check with your local authority as different rules may apply. Try to match new materials exactly with the original materials the house was built with or subject to obtaining any relevant planning, go for a really stark contrast, such as masses of glazing next to Victorian brick.
If your home has a look of the 70’s and 80’s with stone cladding, pebbledash, mismatched bricks or a selection of materials, you may want to consider updating the finish. Remove them, or easier, cover them. A different material such as timber cladding will give your home a complete new look. A cheaper option can be to paint the house using masonry paint. Rendering and repainting can be a better option if the original brickwork is damaged.
Ideally you should look at different cladding options in situ at different times throughout the day. Look at both new and aged samples and make sure the weight of the chosen cladding is suitable for your property as some materials will be much heavier than others.
PVCu cladding is one of the most inexpensive options. Coloured or wood-effect PVCu is comparable in price to timber boarding. Low-maintenance and easy to clean, it should last for up to 20 years.
Laminate cladding is durable and scratch-resistant, it can have coloured pigments added to the surface during curing, making a variety of colours and finishes possible. Virtually impervious to weather, it can also be cleaned very easily.
Composite cladding is made up of stone powder and high-quality acrylic resins with pigments to add colour. Highly weather-resistant, it can be easily cleaned, moulded and fitted.
Timber boarding suits both contemporary and period properties. Softwoods, such as pine or spruce, are the cheapest option. Hardwoods, like oak, chestnut or larch, can be left to weather naturally or sealed with a fire-retardant coating.
Fibre-cement weatherboarding, being a composite, is long-lasting, won’t twist or warp over time, is fire-resistant, frost-proof, comes pre-finished, needs minimal maintenance (an annual hose down will do) and won’t rust or rot.
Brick slips look like solid bricks but are actually 2-2.5cm deep ‘tiles’ made from clay – either kiln-fired as preformed slips, or sawn from the face of standard clay bricks. Cladding panels with a brick finish and interlocking prefabricated boards are also available.
Stone tiles are of a similar construction to brick slips, and are split from genuine stone. They are ideal for a more traditional look, offering a cost-effective and lightweight alternative to building with natural stone.
Metal is an expensive option but is low-maintenance and weather-resistant. It can come painted, powder-coated, pre-aged or coated to preserve its finish. Steel is the most affordable and should last at least 30 years.
Masonry paint is a cheap and fast way to cover an unattractive exterior. Textured finishes are particularly good for hiding minor cracks. It can hide poor-quality or mismatched brickwork on period properties, and create a sleek finish on modern homes.
The roof of your property is a very dominant feature, especially if you live in a bungalow and so if you change the shape, exterior covering or just improve the existing tiles, it will hugely transform your property’s appearance. It is costly and labour intensive and not a job for the faint hearted. Many undertake the job for one of the following reasons..as part of a loft conversion or extension, to improve the homes efficiency with new insulations or when changing a roof covering.
Changing the guttering can have a big impact on the look of your house. Many houses now have white PVCu guttering which shows dirt more easily than on black. Galvanised guttering is now very affordable and can suit both modern and older properties. For a very contemporary look, powder-coated aluminium box gutters can look great.
Updating your properties windows can alter the whole personality of your home, especially when it is done in conjunction with a remodel. Under PDRs you can fit replacement windows or alter the size and shape of openings without planning permission. Choose windows and doors for period properties with care or if you are looking to give your home a contemporary update that’s sympathetic in style to its period feel consider metal doors and windows as replacements.
A quick easy DIY fix to improve your home front is to replace or refurbish your front door. There are now many modern doors that are made to look traditional, so if it is just new technology you are after, you won’t have to look far. Reclamation yards are a great place to find a door in the style of a period house if your desire is to restore your property to its former glory.
Consider safety as well as style when thinking about replacing your front door, as solid and secure is important, don’t always go for the budget option.
What are the best front door colours?
For great kerb appeal go for blue, lilac or purple. Their associations of calm, prosperity and spirituality make them the most appealing colour to visitors and great for kerb appeal.
With their associations to exclusivity, anonymity and understated elegance, black and grey are good choices if you want to stand out from the crowd and impress fussy buyers.
Teal looks good in every season. This vibrant colour sits in between cool and warm tones and is both cheerful and calm - appealing to the largest pool of potential buyers.
And the colours to avoid….
Bright colours; pink, yellow, oranges and greens are likely to put off potential buyers as are brown, unless it is natural wood.
Adding an extension to your home can have a huge impact on its appearance. Smaller alterations such as a porch or bay window can add interest and character but without the high price tag.
A large single storey or two storey extension to the side or the front can balance the shape or proportions of your property.
A porch can add character to a featureless frontage as well as providing extra, practical storage space for your family and is a great consideration if your front door opens straight into a room in the house and not a hallway. Any porch should be carefully designed so that it suits the house in style and proportion to the existing look of the property.
Dramatically alter the appearance of your home and add valuable living space by converting your garage. An architect can help you achieve a seamless look between old and new and by tooth and bonding the new work you should avoid a bolted-on look.
A local estate agent should be able to advise if the advantages of extra living space are outweighed by the need for secure parking resulting in the impact on the value of your home being negative.
Update any outdoor space that may be visible from the front of your house. Once the garden design and planning is done, turn your attention to planting, choose a scheme in keeping with your house, architectural plants for a contemporary feel or opt for cottage plants for a traditional country look. A cottage garden might have raised beds made from reclaimed bricks, render or paint walls of a new house.
If you have a lawn, keep this neat and tidy, while all types of home will benefit from a wall light next to the front door or to highlight the front path and planting so as to make the house look very attractive at night.
A property with off-road parking is more desirable from both an aesthetic and practical point of view. If you don't have a driveway you can contact the council to drop your kerb should your garden be large enough for one or two vehicles. Gravel is the favoured driveway surface. It is more affordable, the noise deters intruders and it drains well preventing flooding issues. It will need topping up though and a membrane is essential to reduce time spent weeding. Tarmac is very popular but block paving may be preferable as it allows some drainage.
Ready to talk kerb appeal? Get in Touch with Refresh today to book a free, no obligation consultation with one of our Refresh Renovation Specialists!
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