Staying home over your summer vacation? Why not utilize that PTO with some value-adding home improvements. We've compiled a list of projects you can complete within a few days time and still get in some much-deserved rest and relaxation.
Get a Hand On Your Out-of-Control Garage
If you’re like the majority of homeowners, your garage is a dumping ground for everything from lawn care essentials to your kids’ outdoor toys. Get your garage back to its original purpose over the course of a day with our garage organization tips.
Add Some Fire
Add some ambiance to your backyard with a fire pit. This project only takes around four hours to complete, but make sure you do your research on your town’s regulations for fire pits. You’ll also need to call 811 before you dig. See our how-to here.
Spruce Up Your Cabinetry
If you were to have a professional come in to refinish or paint your cabinets, you’d be kicked out of your kitchen anyway so you might as well tackle this project yourself and while you can still utilize the grill for meals.
This project requires a lot of prep but the payoff is huge. You’ll need at least three days for sanding, priming and painting, more or less depending on the amount of cabinetry. See This Old House for a step-by-step tutorial.
Give Your Deck Some TLC
Properly cleaning and staining/sealing your deck is a multi-day process. Start by selecting a block of days with no forecasted storms and limited humidity to get the job done.
Sweep off any leaves or debris. Then power wash your deck, making sure to keep the nozzle at least 8 inches from the surface of the wood. Allow at least 24 hours for the wood to dry. You’ll know it’s ready to be stained if you place a couple drops of water on a board and it absorbs quickly.
Staining your deck will take at least a full day, depending on how large your deck area is and how long it’s been since the deck has last been treated. Try to start staining as early in the morning as possible to avoid working in direct sunlight.
Make sure you have plenty of stain; a thirsty deck absorbs stain quickly and may need a second coat. If it does, allow at least 4 hours for drying in between coats. When finished, wait 24-36 hours before allowing foot traffic and replacing furniture on your restored outdoor living space.
Refresh Your Home’s Exterior
A good cleaning goes a long way for your home’s curb appeal, so grab the power washer, soft-bristled brush and garden hose to get started on working away at your house’s siding, walkways, driveway and windows.
For Vinyl Siding
Though vinyl siding boasts long-term durability and resilience, a little routine maintenance helps extend its lifespan. For light mildew staining, use a mixture of 70% water and 30% vinegar and scrub with a long-handled soft bristle brush. Depending on the brand and type of siding, you can use a power washer instead, but use caution. If improperly used, water can seep behind your siding panels. Check with your siding manufacturer.
For Driveways & Sidewalks
Utilize the power washer again. For old oil stains, you may need to purchase a stain remover, which are available at any hardware store.
With a simple solution of white vinegar, dish detergent and water, you can achieve a streak-free shine on your windows. See the directions on the She Wears Many Hats blog.
Make Your Property Walkable
Proper landscaping is one of the few home improvements that adds value to your home immediately and appreciates over time. What do most immaculately landscaped yards include? Walkways leading to and from outdoor living areas.
Add some character to your landscape with a DIY stone garden path.
Upgrade Your Entry
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Replacing your front door is one of the best investments for resale recoup, but if you don’t need to replace your current model, a few small investments can bring a drab entry back to life. Start by:
- Painting. Bold colors are a fun way to spruce up your curb appeal, but if muted colors are more your style, adding a fresh coat can still make quite a difference.
- Changing Up Your House Numbers. Still sporting the run-of-the-mill house numbers? Install an address plaque, floating numbers, ceramic displays, etc. to convey some of your personal style right at the door.
- Playing With Color. Incorporate your front door color in other places around your entryway, such as your doormat, a painted planter, your mailbox, etc.
- Get Symmetrical. Symmetrical accents are pleasing to the eye. Flank your front door with light fixtures, potted flowers, etc.
Revamp Your Exterior Lighting
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Make sure you’re hitting the three goals of exterior lighting – function, safety and warmth.
If there’s a good amount of space between your driveway or parking and front door, pathway lighting is essential to guide your guests to and from your home. Step lights are also a good idea for decks and porches.
Motion sensor lights provide several benefits to homeowners with burglar-deterring being one of the biggest. A basic incandescent floodlight will cost you around $35 per year, according to 24-7 Home Security. With a motion sensor, you up your energy efficiency and whittle the cost down to $2 per year with the same light.
Curb appeal is just as important after dark, so highlight the hard work you’ve put into your landscape and outdoor living areas. Invest in uplighting by placing spotlights on mature trees and place rope lighting inside edged garden beds to achieve a pleasant glow. For your deck, consider post cap lights to illuminate your social areas.
Refresh Interior Paint
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Granted the heat and humidity of late summer is keeping you indoors, now is a great time to spruce up your interior color scheme. See our tips for choosing interior paint colors and the mistakes to avoid during the process.
Interested in completing some larger scale home improvements or renovations this summer? Download our free Rehab & Construction Guide for ways to roll the costs of your improvements into your mortgage.