4 amazingly smart projects to winterize and add resale value to your home
Don’t even begin to use that “w” word. Dare I say it…. winter! The image of tightly gripping the steering wheel navigating icy roads, shoveling mountains of that evil white stuff with my long red shovel makes me want to get on the next plane to sunny Florida. Even global warming can’t totally stop winter from coming and invading your nice (hopefully) cozy home and stealing your money when the “shoe drops” (the shoe would be that way-too-regular and expensive monthly heating bill).
If you’re like me you’d like to pass right over winter and go directly to spring. If you live in any cold weather state, or cities like Cleveland or Columbus (this is where I hang out most)– it’s soon going to be light outside too little and cold inside too much. So, what you gonna do, or who you gonna call (don’t say Ghostbusters!), to deal with an uncomfortable home which drains your hard-earned money in the winter?
One strategy would be to turn the thermostat down to 55 and go play on the beach in Florida or California. That would be cool – maybe a bit impractical – and your kids may catch on and wonder where you went – ha! ha!). If “getting out of Dodge” isn’t happening, what can you do to drive those bills down and winterize your home so you’re not wearing parkas or ugly Christmas sweaters in the house this winter?
Here’s 2 ways you can “beat” Old Man Winter (I wonder what this guy looks like anyway – I bet he’s ugly – but I digress), and the cold from entering your home.
- Long term solutions – home improvement projects to jazz up curb appeal and drive down heating bills – We’ll profile 4 exterior home improvement projects to make your neighbors envious, add resale value, curb appeal and stop your pain of opening the heating bills this winter (and the cooling bills in the summer).
- Short term fixes – tiny maintenance tips to button up on the cheap – If funds are tight, you’re renting or you think your home is already the most expensive one on the block doing little things with little money invested to keep the cold out makes sense. These tips are more about DIY elbow grease than they are about spending big bucks.
Let’s take a look at these projects to beat Old Man Winter now.
Project #1 – Start at the front – that would be your front entry door
The “smartest” (economically speaking anyway) project you can do is a front entry door. According to the 2016 Cost/Value study the #1 ROI for your home is a steel entry door replacement project since you get back 91% of the money you put in! If your home is in an upscale neighborhood (like a Bexley, Upper Arlington, Shaker Heights or Cleveland Heights) consider taking your door replacement up a notch by using a fiberglass entry door to replace your cracked or warped wood door.
If the home values in your neighborhood are modest, steel entry doors also provide excellent protection – but at lower prices (see the picture at the beginning of this article). Entry doors can run you from $1,000 to $6,000 depending the type of door, style and decorative glass packages.
Tips to button up on the cheap
If you can’t afford to replace the door roll up a towel or some fabric with sand and put it by the door (don’t use the sand tip if you’ve got cats otherwise your front door area might look like the beach!) or invest in new door weather-stripping. Another option is to get out a gun (that would be your caulk gun second amendment fans) and seal the daylights around the door frame and threshold.
Project #2 – Stopping battling your current windows – a warmer future with vinyl replacement windows
If your existing wood and metal window are a pain to in the butt to open and shut and they literally move around in their tracks they may be telling you “hey- buddy it’s time to replace us!” Original windows suck the energy costs out of your home faster than Lebron James knifing through the Golden State Warriors defense (sorry Warriors fans for that low blow!).
What’s cool today is you don’t need to put up with cheesy “tin-men” style replacement window salesman. First, let your fingers do the “googling” and get knowledgeable about replacement window products. Second, go to Angie’s list or Yelp and find reviews of window replacement contractors. Don’t let the high-pressure companies into your home (unless you want to have your lonely Aunt sit with them through the appointment!). Replacement windows can run from $189 (from the crank it out window companies) to more professionally installed and built products in the $500 to $850 range.
Tips to button up your upper floor house windows on the cheap
If funds are limited get one of the inexpensive window insulation plastic sheet wrap systems and become a “rapper” (‘er I’d mean a window rapper). This cheap technique won’t get you on the cover of Fine Homebuilding Magazine – but it will help the heating bills head south – which is a good thing.
Project #3 – Get out your Lego – I mean glass- blocks
Glass blocks are a workman like product if there ever was one. They literally “block” out the cold so well you almost never see anyone replace their basement windows with anything but glass blocks anymore. Most basement windows glass blocks are replacing unbelievable disgusting single pan metal or wood windows (does your basement windows resemble this picture). They are a “slam-dunk” button up for the winter home improvement project.
What you may not know is there is a “Protect All” glass block window which is 22% more efficient than a standard glass block window and is virtually indestructible to break through. Most glass block basement windows cost between $150 to $350 per unit depending on the size and type of frame being removed.
In addition to the basement windows, glass blocks are also a natural fit for bathroom or shower windows. They maintain privacy while making sure nosy neighbors or worse yet stalkers – can’t look in. Upper floor bathroom glass block windows will range in price from $400 to $900 depending on size and type of finishing required.
Tips to button up your lower level windows on the cheap
If you’re willing to do battle with the cobwebs around your lower level windows get out your gun (caulk gun once again) and get busy filling holes outside of the metal or wood frames. You can also put bubble wrap over the windows, or I’ve even seen people put entire pieces of insulation over the basement windows on the inside (although this will make a dark basement even darker). If the metal frames are badly rusted or the wood deteriorated, you will be best with a full replacement (if your budget allows).
Project #4 – Take control of your home by storm (door)
While a grand entry door looks dressier than a storm door – putting in a decent quality insulated glass storm door can be a multi-function improvement for your home. Not only does a storm door help in the winter but in Spring, Summer and Fall as well. In the cold month’s storm doors provide another barrier from the cold hitting your entry door (so they are like a “wing-man” to the entry door). This can help cut energy bills. The other nice feature is many come with integral screens or full length glass so you can leave your entry door open during the other 3 seasons and get fresh air and full views of the outside of the home.
Since storm doors are more cost effective than entry doors (most storm door installation range from $250 to $1,250 in price) they are a cheaper way to seal up your home.
Tips to button up on the cheap
Like previously mentioned in the entry door tips, you can caulk around your existing entry door or use a towel behind the door (not probably the high fashion look your wife is after) if you don’t want to spend on an entry or storm door.
Whether you live in Columbus, Cleveland or some other cold weather city we’ve got to face the unpleasant facts that infamous, and not be overlooked Old Man Winter will be upon us. Are you going to let him beat you (and your home) out of being comfortable and stealing your hard-earned money? Get cracking NOW on some products or cheap maintenance tips so you’ll have the upper hand in this battle vs. old man winter.
For a free no-pressure estimate on vinyl replacement windows, entry and storm door or glass block windows call Cleveland Window (216-531-4118) or Clear Choice Window & Door (614-545-6885), Columbus Glass Block or Cleveland Glass Block. For nationwide supply of bathroom and basement Protect All glass block windows call Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888.