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How Can I Improve My Home Exterior?

Updated on May 16, 2019
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has written many property-related articles due to fourteen years' experience in residential lettings and renovation in the UK.

Does the Exterior of Your Home Need Some TLC?

Is your home a desirable dream home or a dilapidated dump?
Is your home a desirable dream home or a dilapidated dump? | Source

Elegant Elevations

The frontage of a property should be every home-owner's individual statement as to how good a property can look. Refreshing your home exterior should not be expensive and with a few simple tricks it can be made to look the best it can be. This will also ensure that you are protecting the fabric of the building and guarding your home against all weathers.

First impressions really are important, whether you are trying to attract a buyer or just want to be proud of your abode. Take a walk around the block and make a note of the things that enhance the front elevations of similar properties and those that turn them into an eyesore.

It doesn’t take long for a great looking home to become dilapidated if repairs and maintenance are not carried out regularly or neglected completely. Sprawling extensions taking up too much garden space and top-heavy loft conversions not in keeping with the existing building can even spoil the look of the entire street. Trees in the wrong place and overgrown ivy also cause the frontage of a property to become unsightly or increasingly difficult to maintain.

View your own home from the other side of the road with a critical eye. What needs addressing first? Is the work required purely decorative or are there problems that could affect the fabric of the building if not resolved rapidly? If your house looks as if it’s only the houses on either side that are preventing it from falling down then you really need to do something!

Start With the Roof And Work Down

All is not lost: you can soon give the exterior of your home a make-over with very little financial outlay or professional help and it might even add some value and enhance the appearance of the immediate vicinity even encouraging neighbours to improve their homes too. There is nothing worse than several neglected houses in the same street which are a target for vandalism.

Start with the roof and work down: a roof should always be in tip top condition to protect the fabric of the property. Never view missing tiles or shingles as a purely cosmetic problem. Ingress of water will cause no end of trouble if not remedied. Ensure flashing round the chimney breasts is intact and guttering is functional and free of leaves and other debris.

Mortar and Rendering

Missing mortar in between bricks causes problems with damp penetration but can be fixed cheaply and swiftly with the aid of a ladder, a trowel and some cement.Too much foliage on exterior walls can encourage penetrating damp especially on elevations that get little warmth from the sun and will rarely be dry.

If your property has cracked and peeling rendering which is too costly to replace, you may have to patch it up in places and paint over to hide ugly cracks or in extreme cases hack off the surface completely and decide on an alternative coating or return to the original brickwork.

A coat of paint works wonders and can virtually transform bare concrete walls that have never looked inviting. Pale blue, terracotta or peppermint green always looks good if you want to achieve the country cottage look. Special exterior paint such as Weathershield masonry paint with built in weather proofing is well worth the investment and will be long lasting and creates an impressive finish.

Your House Can Still Look Good Even if it's the Same as the Next One!

 Cottages with curb appeal
Cottages with curb appeal | Source

Your House can be as Pretty as a Picture

Everything looks even brighter when the sun shines
Everything looks even brighter when the sun shines | Source

Make Sure the Windows aren't a Pane!

All windows should be checked to see that seals and joints are watertight and open and shut smoothly. Even maintenance free UPVC benefits from a little TLC once in a while and frames will scrub up like new with warm soapy water. Wooden frames can be repaired with putty and wood filler if small areas have rotted as long as the decay is not so bad that the whole frame is beyond repair. The life of wooden windows can be extended by several years by doing this and treating them to a coat of wood enhancer and preserver. This will make them appear as new and improve the exterior of your home tenfold. Don’t forget to clean the panes themselves which should be done regularly especially if you live on a main road. All exterior woodwork can be given a fresh coat of weather-resistant paint or wood stain product such as Sadolin yacht varnish which comes in a variety of attractive colours and will enhance any natural wood. Fences, wooden doors, fascias and soffits will also benefit from such a coating and this will prolong the life of the wood if a UPVC replacement is beyond your current budget.

Windows will also benefit from co-ordinating curtains or blinds to create a good overall impression from the outside. Never have the back of a TV facing onto a window as this will always look dreadful from the road. Try also to fit exterior fittings like aerials and sky dishes in the most unobtrusive places if this is at all possible. Burglar alarm boxes however should always be in full view.

Some Great 'kerb Appeal' Ideas

The Front Yard

Your front yard or garden can be made as pleasant as possible whatever its size. Boundaries between neighbouring properties and the street should be defined clearly and all grassy areas and flower beds should be trimmed regularly and kept weed free. Cheap weed killer spray can be purchased from all reputable garden centres and DIY stores which can stop even stubborn weeds from taking hold.

Wrought iron gates and railings will benefit from a shiny new coating of a trustworthy product such as Hammerite. This may seem like a tedious and laborious task but it only needs doing once every five years and will keep your exterior ironwork rust free. Why not try black railings with gold tipped trims for a smart and classy look? A few bright hanging baskets and planters placed strategically will make a nice finish to any frontage.

If the existing surface in your front yard is too uneven to repair why not try gravel or stone chips in an attractive colour? The plastic underlay and chips needed to do this are inexpensive if the area to be covered is relatively small and you can alter the appearance of your frontage completely for maximum impact.

Recycling is a commendable thing but do try to confine all refuse bins to one particular area if you are not able to have them emptied from the rear of the property, If you have dogs, ensure they do not foul up the yard as this can be offensive to all visitors however much they like your pet!

Last but not least; don’t overlook the front door. All door furniture, knockers and numbers should be gleaming and welcoming – everything should shout ‘This is my home and I’m proud of it!’

The same measures can also be put in place for the rear of your property and although this is not on view to everyone you must still protect your home against the elements.

© 2015 Stella Kaye


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