Top Tips for National Home Improvement Month

The Mountain Life Team Blogger April 26, 2012

Springtime has arrived and it’s time to dust off the “to do” list. But how does a homeowner decide which projects should take priority? According to Mark Clement, host of MyFixItUpLife home improvement radio show, start by selecting projects that are the most important for enhancing the functionality of the home.

“National Home Improvement Month in May is the ideal time to shine the spotlight on annual home projects that should never be overlooked,” says Clement, a professional contractor in Pennsylvania. “Sure it’s great to work outside in the garden this time of year, but that task should take second place behind evaluating and fixing major components of the house. A home’s curb appeal is important, but working on the structural aspects of the home to safeguard a family should always take priority.”

Clement, who is currently renovating his own 100-year-old home, understands that all products in and on the house will eventually need to be replaced. “We just replaced the original wood door on our home with a fiberglass door,” says Clement. “That old door should have been removed a decade ago because it lost its functionality and was an energy drain on our home. The new Therma-Tru fiberglass door is energy-efficient, stylish and helps secure our home.” 

According to Clement, there is a “must do” list of five items that homeowners should review every year during National Home Improvement Month. This list includes:
Check the roof. Use a ladder or binoculars from across the street to look for problem areas, such as missing or broken shingles, along with roofing tiles that may be “flapping” in the wind. These are all indications that a new roof may be in your future. If that’s the case, research the newer products on the market, such as polymer shake and slate roofing tiles. These impact-resistant tiles are man-made in a wide variety of colors. Some roofing tiles are fire- and hail-resistant.

Clean and assess the home’s siding. Pressure-washing works well for many homes to remove dirt and algae that can grow on siding, but remember never to pressure-wash windows or their screens. The extreme high pressure could crack or destroy the caulking around the units. While cleaning the siding, make sure to check for changes in the exterior from the previous year and be alert to buckling, warping or insect damage that may need to be fixed.

Evaluate the windows. If you find that windows in the home don’t operate easily, there’s air leaking in or out of the units, or there’s condensation between the glass panes, then it may be time to seriously consider replacement windows.

Vinyl framed windows have the highest growth rate in the country due to their energy-efficiency, aesthetic appeal and durability. Plus, maintenance hassles are so low you’ll forget the horrors of rotting frames, scraping and repainting that come with wood windows.

Check on the gutters. Don’t underestimate the importance of the gutter system on the home. Each year homeowners should check to make sure their gutters are unclogged and remain sloped for proper drainage. Plus, make sure the water running off the roof doesn’t cause damage to the building structure, landscaping or property below the roof.

Spend time with the main entry door. If homeowners can see light around the door from the inside, the door is hard to close or lock, or the door itself is warped, it’s time to consider a new door. Think about the weather conditions that a home’s door faces along with the energy bills. If either run to the extreme, consider replacing an entryway with a high-performance fiberglass door (which can have up to four times more insulation value than wood doors).