1. Your Roof Is On Borrowed Time
The roof on your house has weathered over 20 years and the shingles are showing signs of age. It is time to start from the top and work your way down. New paint can wait if your roof is on borrowed time. Make sure your roofing company carries the best warranty, a lifetime workmanship and the manufacturer’s warranty that covers all defects in material for the lifetime of the shingle. Most important, make sure your roofing contractor is a certified installer with the roofing manufacturer. Take advantage of the tremendous curb appeal that a new roof can offer.
2. The Paint Is Peeling And You Never Loved The Color Of The House Anyway
Paint can be your number one reason to give your home a facelift. Most people change their preference on food, clothes, and cars within a 7 year period, which is about the average paint cycle. When it’s time to paint the exterior of your home, why not change the color? When painting is a must, choose quality lifetime paint and don’t forget a good primer coat. You’ve wanted to change the color for a while, so do it! If you want to keep the white trim, consider a move away from stark white, to a “Mother of Pearl” or “Linen”. This will add warmth to your home. Paint is instant change and gratification.
3. You Are Hot In The Summer And Cold In The Winter
Your single pane windows have been painted 10 times, the builder grade windows are fogged, and you’re ready for lower electric bills. It’s window replacement time! New windows make an old home feel new and bring tremendous curb appeal. The return on investment will make you smile when you open the electric bill each month. While an interior kitchen or bath remodel are always popular upgrades, replacing windows can have an 80% return on investment (Reliable Remodeler.com).
4. The Front Door, The Focal Point Of Your Home, Is The Last Place You Want To Welcome Guests
This is the focal point of your house, where your guests wait after the door bell is rung. What are they looking at before you let them in? The door is what welcomes them. Is it time for a fresh coat of paint? Has the sun faded the polyurethane finish and it’s time to re-stain? Small changes can make big differences. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
5. One More Round of Band-Aid Paint to Save Your Siding Is Not The Best Approach
Rather than putting a new coat of paint on siding that needs more than a Band-Aid, replace the siding with fiber cement or vinyl siding that will more than upgrade the look. Even better, according to Remodeler Magazine in 2010 and 2011, siding replacement consistently yields an 88% return on investment, higher than any other interior or exterior project!
6. You Have A Personal Connection With Niagara Falls Watching Rain Overflow Your Undersized Gutters
Get rid of the old 4 or 5 inch gutters and replace them with 6 inch seamless aluminum gutters with internal hangers. Not enough can be said regarding the importance of size and proper installation of new gutters. Consider changing the gutter color to contrast with the trim. For example, bronze or dark color gutters that match your shutters, front door or roof are extremely popular. The clean look of new gutters and no maintenance gutter protection will add increased curb appeal and peace of mind in protecting your newly painted trim from water run-off from your roof.
7. You Have Focused On Interior Renovations and Never Invested In Exterior Upgrades
It’s already been stated that new siding will yield the highest return on investment for any renovation. Consider how important first impressions are and remember the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. From a sales perspective, the outside is often more important. No gorgeous granite counter top will charm the potential buyer who drives past your home. Don’t forget the outside will draw a person inside.
8. You Can’t Sell Your House In The Current Market, So Invest In What You Have And Increase Its Value
Your plan was to move two years ago, then the housing market took a nose dive. What was initially a temporary home is now Home Sweet Home. Well maybe not, but consider the benefits of what improving your home will bring when the housing market returns. Who knows, you just might find yourself falling in love with the home you had always planned on selling.
9. You Have Always Liked the Location Of Your House, But Never The Look
It’s never been disputed, the right location will sell a house and you fully agree. You are one who bought your house for the location and have never loved the look. Maybe you have tackled the interior obstacles but closed your eyes to the exterior. Dream kitchen and baths grace the cover of magazines, but rarely is an exterior facelift given its proper recognition. Consider working with an exterior remodeling company that gives you an Architectural Rendering of what your house can look like with a few changes. Focus on creating Light, Texture and Color. Your home’s exterior is an empty canvas of possibilities. If you like the location of your home, get serious about liking the look of it as well.
10. Maintenance Is A Must, Makeover Your Home At The Same Time! Finally, when your house is screaming for maintenance, go beyond the musts and consider tying in a makeover. When you’re deck is falling off, replace it with 20 extra square feet or with cypress decking versus pressure treated. When wood trim is rotting, replace it with a fiber cement no rot material. When you paint, upgrade to lifetime paint. Small changes make big differences. If you’re getting opposition from your spouse when a makeover is on your mind, use maintenance as your excuse to do more. Your home is your castle. Treat it like one.
There are many factors to be examined when purchasing vinyl replacement windows and, therefore, is no straight-forward answer on how much they should cost. When starting the process of shopping around you will need to ask yourself the following questions about your windows and the company you choose to take on the project.
- What type of windows do I need? Prices vary for different types of windows. For example, casements, sliders and specialty shapes are going to be more expensive than basic double hung or picture windows
- Do I want energy efficient windows? The answer to this question should be YES. Energy efficient windows will lower your monthly utility bills, help keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and minimize the fading of furniture, flooring, rugs, etc. Most vinyl replacement windows on the market today are the double pane, low-e coated, argon filled windows that are very energy efficient. Be wary of companies advertising unusually inexpensive windows. They could be cheap windows with no better energy efficiency than older, poorly glazed, single-pane windows.
- What features am I interested in? Pricing will also vary depending on what additional features you are interested in. For instance, you have several options for window grids. Simulated divided light (SDL) grids on the exterior of the window pane are going to be more expensive that grids beween the glass (GBG) or no grids at all. Additional charges will also apply for options such as obscured glass, tempered glass, special colored or stained sashes, screens, special locks, etc.
- Who should install my windows? When shopping for vinyl windows you not only want to choose a company who offers quality windows, but also a company you can trust to install them properly and stand behind their work. Make sure your contractor is fully licensed and insured and offers a lifetime workmanship warranty. You will also want to be sure that your contractor has been trained and certified by the window manufacturer to perform the installation to proper specifications and ensure the best results.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. I personally don’t mind paying a little more to get a quality product from a reputable company who will stand behind their work. If you look for the lowest price, chances are you won’t be as satisfied. And finally, research window contractors on websites such as Kudzu.com and Angieslist.com to read specific experiences that customers have had.
When it’s time for window replacement for your home, there are several options for you to choose from. Lets look at two different windows made of the same material but using different manufacturing processes for the window components. Vinyl replacement windows are very common and made using components made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Polyvinyl chloride is a combination of different chemicals, plasticizers and pigments. Polyvinyl chloride is also used to make plumbing pipes, electrical pipes, and many other plastic items. Window components for vinyl replacement windows are extruded and contain hollow chambers. The hollow chambers make for a lighter product and easier for welding the components together.
The second type of window is also made from polyvinyl chloride. However, thru a different type of manufacturing process the components are solid. This material is known as Cellular PVC. Cellular PVC is unlike extruded hollow vinyl as it features a foam or cell-structure inside. It can be nailed, sawn and fabricated like wood. The window components (brickmould, sill, jamb, and sash rails) used to manufacture these windows look exactly like wood windows. Cellular PVC windows are solid and stronger than extruded vinyl windows which are thinner and can lead to warping.
Choosing between the two is difficult because they both have different attributes. Here are some things to consider:
- Architectural Style – Vinyl replacement windows do not look like wood where Cellular PVC windows have the same architectural moldings as traditional wood windows.
- Interior Design – vinyl replacement windows come in 2 interior colors, white and almond or tan. They are not manufactured to be painted. Cellular PVC windows can be painted to match your interior trim.
- Energy Efficiency – Cellular PVC windows solar heat gain and U-factor, as tested by the NFRC, are the same as vinyl replacement windows when using the same glass type.
- Maintenance – vinyl windows will never have to be painted. However, your color choices are limited and the color you choose will be your only future option. Once painted, cellular PVC windows require minimal maintenance.
One major factor to consider is loss of glass space. When replacing wood windows with a vinyl replacement window, there will be a significant loss of glass space. A vinyl window has its own frame and inserts into the existing wood frame of the wood window after the window sashes are removed. So imagine removing the glass from your window, and installing a new enclosed window in a frame where this glass area was. This will result in a significant loss of glass space which will result in a loss of natural light.
Based on the factors above, when replacing your wood windows, cellular PVC windows are your best option and will give you the highest return on your investment.
I think that the more important question is “Does it pay to go cheap?”
Obviously, if you need to replace some windows and doors, there are some issues with the ones you currently have. Such as, your windows or doors may be rotted, your windows may be fogging, your doors might be warped, they may not be energy efficient, or they are just plain ugly and out-of-date or all of the above.
Buying the least expensive window or door for your home is never the best thing to do. They are usually cheap for a reason. In my opinion, it is well worth the extra cost to receive the increased value you receive for an energy efficient PVC or aluminum/clad window unit versus a vinyl replacement window.
Most vinyl replacements are not aesthetically appealing compared to a aluminum clad, PVC, or wood window. You also lose additional glass space with a vinyl replacement window, since they are an encapsulated window designed to install directly into your existing wood window frame. The wood frames are then capped with a coated aluminum trim coil. If the capping is not done correctly, water will seep in behind the aluminum coil and begin to rot the wood frame underneath and you may never know it.
If you choose to install a Full PVC Unit, or Full Aluminum Clad Unit, you can be assured that what you see is what you get; you shouldn’t have any worries about the window frames. After all, peace of mind is what we all want, isn’t it?
If you want a window that will never rot and the freedom to have a variety of color choices… PVC is the best option and value of any window on the market. You lose these options with aluminum clad and vinyl replacement windows because the exterior of the windows are not paintable. PVC windows are made to look identical to a wood window thus keeping the classy look of a real wood window without the possibility of rot. Aluminum clad units and PVC units are as energy efficient as vinyl replacement windows. Even though these full units cost more than a vinyl replacement window, you will notice a huge difference in the appearance and will be glad you decided to pay a little extra.
A great way to add architectural interest to your home is to have casement windows installed. These windows look like picture windows, but they open very easily with a crank. Using casement windows helps you to eliminate the middle check rails on your double hung windows that obstruct your outside view. These windows do cost more than a standard double-hung window. If you plan on staying in your home for an extended period of time, you will be glad you chose these windows in the long run due to the ease of opening and closing.
The front entrance of your home should speak to the person about to open your door. It should say, ”Welcome to our wonderful home!” You can make your door ”speak” in many different ways. It can make or break the whole look of the front of your home.
Spending money to enhance the face of your home will certainly add value. If you have an old dented up 6 panel steel door unit, replace it with something more up-to-date and add a leaded glass design or an updated craftsman style panel door with a small amount of glass a the top.
For heavens sake, get rid of that old ugly storm door and treat yourself to a nice fiberglass door with no-rot jambs. Choose a door your house will appreciate! After all, your home is a reflection of you! Make sure that you invest on the no-rot jambs. It means EVERYTHING to the life of your door. You can expect to replace your door in 5-7 years if you install a door with a wood frame, unless you maintain it regularly. This goes for any product you put on your home. If you spend a little more money up front making sure that these products are rot-proof, you will spend less later on maintaining those products, and spend more time enjoying them.
The same mentality should also be used when choosing a professional contractor to install these products. I recommend a State-Licensed Contractor that will provide you with a written warranty on their installation. Make sure you check out their reviews on Kudzu or Angies List, or with the Better Business Bureau. You wouldn’t ask a dentist to perform open-heart surgery. Make sure that your contractor has a proven track record for installing these quality products on your home. Yes, using a good contractor will also cost you more money, but you will be surprised at how much these professionals can help you save money in the long run by offering creative solutions to your window and door needs with their quality products and services. A good product is useless if not installed properly. So, find a good contractor that is familiar with their products and the benefits of using them and let them show you how paying a little more for quality now, will prevent you from having buyer’s remorse later. You almost always get more when you pay more for home improvements, but you never get more for paying less.