5 Home Improvement Projects You Need to Do Before the Snow Flies
Updated March 24, 2019
Home improvement projects can be sexy. Picture the laid-out Shaker-cabinet and granite countertop image you saw on Pinterest or in Better Homes and Gardens. Wouldn’t you just love entertaining in a kitchen like that?
Home improvement projects can be the source of laughter…. after the job is done. I think back to my purchase of 3 pieces of carpet to put down on one small bathroom floor when I was a 25-year-old first-time homeowner. I bought 3 pieces because I cut the first 2 wrong (wondering how that happened … don’t ask!). The entire topic of home improvement is so funny it was its own show (remember Tim the “Tool Man” Taylor and his sidekick Al?).
However, as Fall is now upon us (and we know Fall is here by the trite pictures of ‘the kids’ on Facebook at the front door headed off to the first day of school) the Top 5 projects I believe you should do this season are neither sexy or funny, but they are down-right important. You may be asking why they’re important. Here’s why:
- These projects make your home more comfortable. They’ll keep you from putting 3 blankets on and cranking up the heat this Winter.
- These Fall home improvement projects will make life less stressful (I’ll explain why in project #2 below).
- The top Fall home improvement projects will make you less crabby on bill paying day. You won’t be seeing red and want to ‘go postal’ on anyone at your local, ‘friendly’ (sarcasm intended) utility company who sent you your outrageous bill.
The bottom line is – many fall home improvement projects aren’t sexy, but they are important.
In this article I’m going to identify 5 projects you need to put on your list. I don’t want to see your family crabby, cold and you hot under the collar paying utility bills this winter. Let’s check out these 5 ‘non-sexy,’ yet important projects (note – I saved the ‘slam dunk’ project for last, but don’t get caught peeking ahead).
Project #1 – Replace the leaking-like-a-sieve single pan house windows
Going to your big box store for the 3rd year stocking up on cheap, plastic window film or gobs of silicone to ‘attempt’ to cut out leaks around your deteriorated wood or metal framed windows is not a solution. It’s putting a band aid over a gusher. It’s a waste of time.
When you think about it, not only are your windows leaking around the sides, but the single pane of glass in the center of the window isn’t doing you any favors either (single pane windows have a pathetic “R” insulation value of .2 or less. Note bigger is better and .2 isn’t good). If you want to button up before winter pull this window out and replace it with an energy efficient window.
While there is a plethora (hey– I thought if I threw in a fancy word I might impress you, is it working?) of materials replacement windows are made of (popular choices include metal, wood and vinyl), the one families who are working to keep a lid on the budget choose are vinyl replacement windows. You can get them with double pane, triple pane, low e glass and in all sort of colors and grid styles.
While vinyl replacement windows aren’t the sexiest home improvement – they’ll keep you warm (and not hot under the collar on bill paying day).
Project #2 – Gain control over (and organize) your garage. This ‘Rodney Dangerfield room’ has possibilities.
Do you love your garage? Right now, you’re likely asking what kind of stupid question is that? It’s a disaster. It’s full of bugs. It has junk (‘er that would be your possessions) of all flavors (books, sporting equipment, little used yard tools and equipment). Many items stored in a garage have arrived at their ‘final resting place.’ R.I.P.
For over 35% of the people the garage is so filled with junk that at least one of the cars has to be parked outside in the driveway. Think back to last Winter. Do you want to put yourself (or your griping spouse) through the pain of scraping snow and ice off the car in the dark, in the dead of Winter, as you’re late for work…again?
Your unruly garage is a huge opportunity in disguise. Think beyond your current storage (OK a lot of it is junk) littering the floor of your garage. Consider this picture.
Your garage becomes the man-cave you’ve always desired.
You may wonder how could you possibly transform your current mess into a slicked-out (and organized) garage/man-cave? Here’s 3 quick-steps to get you there:
- Step 1 – Get rid of junk. If you struggle knowing what to throw out (or can’t seem to part with anything) get the help of a professional organizer. They’ll talk sense into you – and help you see what’s most important.
- Step 2 – Research garage cabinetry systems, slatwall and overhead storage bins. They will make your garage safer and can eliminate seeing any ugliness when you use cabinetry doors.
- Step 3 – Inject fun. Install a big screen TV. Add a workbench for hobbies you can enjoy with your kids or grandkids.
The garage is the biggest, poorly used, ‘room’ in your house. Fall is the perfect time (when you won’t be sweating your butt off) to tackle the job.
Project #3 – Set it and forget it – the case for a programmable thermostat
While thermostats are physically small – they literally ‘drive the bus’ (or drive your HVAC system in this case). They are like the rudder on a boat. They’re small but serve a big purpose.
If you’re keeping the temperature consistent throughout the day, you’re blowing money. Does it need to be as high in the winter and as low in the summer when you’re away at work or taking a vacation as when you’re in the house? Did you know for every degree you change your thermostat temp you get a 2% savings on your utility bills? Does this fact grab your attention?
Adding a programmable thermostat will not only reduce your bills, but it also reduces stress on your HVAC equipment – and may help it to ‘hold on’ a year or two more. In short, this small project packs more punch than you think.
Project #4 – Replace your nasty basement windows
Here’s a ‘feature’ of your home which gets even less respect than your garage (if that’s possible). It’s your small basement windows. In most cases these puppies were an ‘afterthought’ for your builder. He or she put in the cheapest thing they could get away with. The result is you now have old rusted metal frames or rotten (and possibly bug-infested) wood windows you can’t (or are afraid to) open. These closed windows provide the perfect breeding ground for mold in a musty basement.
The good news is replacing basement windows isn’t pricey. The most popular replacement options (especially in the Midwest where we love our basements) is the glass block basement window. What’s nice about blocks is they can be mortared directly into a concrete block or poured foundation. You’ll be happy to know there is no frame (EVER) to rust or rot or caulk around.
If you’re not a fan of glass blocks you can use a double pan vinyl replacement window or an operable acrylic block window. The downside is, expect to pay 50-100% more for these windows vs. the glass blocks.
Project #5 – Reinvigorate your front entry door – it’s the focal point of the front of your home.
If there is a ‘duh why didn’t I think of doing this sooner’ Fall home improvement project, it’s replacing the front entry door. The reason this project makes (dollars) and sense is first because …it makes dollars and sense to do it.
Year after year the highest (or close to the highest) ROI in the Cost/Value Study done by remodeling and real estate groups shows steel front entry doors return owners 91% of the money spent on them. In addition, this doesn’t take into effect the 10% heating and cooling savings of this project. If you do the math your chance of ‘making money’ on a steel front entry door is pretty good.
If you want to get fancier, the fiberglass front entry door is the ‘step-up’ plan. They have fancier glass packages and security features. They look so realistic people will think you have a real wood door. You’ll know you’re not dealing with the hassle of wood because you won’t be repainting and figuring out how to fix a warped door down the road.
I’m sorry this list of Fall home improvement projects you need to do before the snow flies wasn’t a sexier list. However, what we need to do is often more important than what we want to do.
Would your home benefit from new upper floor or basement windows? Would an entry door not only dress up your front, but actually make money for you? Would it make sense to take time out to clean up and add a garage organization system to your nasty space, so you’ll make your Winter less stressful?
If you’d like advice or a visit from a rep who will not (and I repeat will not) be a high-pressure pain in the butt to talk to you about windows or doors, please give us a call on the numbers below.
How can I (or my team) help you?
For nationwide assistance with glass block windows call Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888. For a local glass block basement window installation contact Cleveland Glass Block at 216-531-6363 or Columbus Glass Block at 614-252-5888. For an estimate on vinyl replacement windows or an entry door call Cleveland Window at 216-531-4118 or Clear Choice Window & Door in Columbus at 614-545-6886. For help with a garage cabinetry project in Columbus call Innovate Home Org at 614-545-6888.
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