813-931-4663 or 727-502-5300

Get a free estimate

Get Started Now

Get a free estimate

I agree to receive information and commercial
offers from Morgan Exteriors.

A LIFETIME GUARANTEE on materials & labor fortifies every Morgan Exteriors window, siding, door & soffit installation.

Learn More

How to Prepare For a Home Exterior Renovation – Part 2

Last week we discussed some ways that you could better prepare for an exterior renovation, such as understanding your neighborhood and budgeting; this week, we will continue with a couple of more tips.

Make Sure You Are Doing Things in Code

About 9 or 10 years ago, one of my neighbors tore apart his garage and was remodeling it to become another wing to his house. His parents had moved in with his family and he was looking to make his house more spacious by adding another bedroom and bathroom. Many days into his project, a code compliance officer showed up to let him know that his project was not up to code and that he did not have any of the permits that the city required for the type of remodel he was doing. Not only did my neighbor have to scramble to get these permits to prevent receiving a large fine, but he had to completely redo the wiring for all of the electrical outlets he was installing. Perhaps the worst part of his predicament was that he could have easily prevented it by talking to a home inspector about how to stay in code and by doing some basic research about what work the city requires a permit for. Always know what you are getting into with home exterior renovation, especially when it comes to code and permit issues. Nothing is worse than having to redo some of your hard work and face a fine from code compliance. Obviously the easiest way to avoid these problems is by hiring a professional that is well-versed in municipal building regulations.

Grill Your Contractor

If you are using a professional for you remodel, which I would almost always recommend doing, be sure you are using someone that is qualified. While it can be tempting to hire someone off of Craigslist for $50, for bigger jobs I would definitely recommend a contractor that has real credentials. Be sure you ask about their history, if they can provide you with referrals, and if they are licensed to do the work you are asking them to do (if applicable). Understand that not every contractor is out to take all of your money in exchange for a poor job done, but there are companies out there that prey on ill-informed clients. Typically the best way to find a good contractor for your remodel is by asking your friends who they used and how happy they were with the job. There are also resources, such as the BBB and Angie’s List that can assist you in finding out more about potential contractors. Don’t be afraid to ask the contractor as many questions as you feel you need the answer to, as exterior remodeling can be a pricey affair and it would be shameful if you had a job completed in a way you were not happy with because you didn’t want to “bug” the contractor. You are their boss when they are working for you, so don’t be afraid to ask them as many questions about the job they are doing or their work history as you feel necessary.

How to Prepare For a Home Exterior Renovation – Part 1

Your house is how you represent yourself to your neighbors. A dilapidated and rotting house, or even one with just chipped paint and an unmowed lawn might give the people around you the wrong idea. Sure, we all get busy and let things slip through our fingers, but that is a fact that people don’t often consider when they look at your home. A damaged exterior doesn’t just present a negative cosmetic effect on your home, but can also be the source of other bad things such as leaks (water or energy), pests, and falling property value. It is for these reasons, or perhaps others, that you might have found yourself seriously considering an exterior renovation to your property, whether it be just new siding and paint, or an entire exterior home makeover. Regardless of what type of project you’re planning, be sure to approach it in a practical manner by following some of the following tips:

Understand Your Neighborhood

Make sure that you understand the neighborhood that you live in. You can create an eyesore for years to come by making a number of mistakes- from overbuilding to picking the wrong paint color. While you always want your house to stand out, it should be because it looks exceptional, not because it looks out of place. If you live in a neighborhood that was primarily built with a modern aesthetic, don’t turn your house into a Victorian mansion or Southern plantation. Also keep in mind that people that would want to buy a house that is considerably bigger or fancier than what’s typically found in your neighborhood most likely aren’t shopping for houses in your neighborhood. This is also something that you should remember for interior renovations, as well. If you are unsure about the direction you are going with your renovation or remodel, don’t hesitate to talk to your neighbors, a realtor, or just take a drive around the neighborhood for ideas. Your contractor should be able to help you out with any decisions you’re unsure of as they’ve probably installed siding or redone a roof in your neighborhood (or at least a similar one) in the past. Don’t be afraid to listen to other’s input for your choices, especially if they work in the field.

Don’t Under Budget Your Renovation

Nothing can be worse than embarking on a cruise that only gets you halfway to your destination. To prevent an unfinished or shoddy remodel, be sure you can afford what it is that you want. While you can certainly juggle estimates and mix-and-match paints and parts, don’t end up with something that looks bad or unfinished. If you cannot afford the renovation that you want, give it some time. As long as your structure is not failing or costing you an absurd amount of money that a quick fix wouldn’t take care of, there’s no need to rush into something that won’t benefit your family in the long term. It is also important that you have clear quotes on all parts and labor from your contractors before you let any work begin. If for some reason you cannot afford the work being performed, you could damage your credit or end up with an angry contractor on your hands. Remember, a contractor has to go buy materials and find laborers for the job he is performing- both of which costs a lot of time and money. Not only is it bad for your credit to start a job you cannot afford, it’s bad karma as well. Also, don’t think that the job will necessarily end up being cheaper if you do it yourself. The price you’ll pay for the correct tools, materials, and possible code violations may surprise you (not to mention if you have to pay a contractor to come out and fix some of the mistakes you made).

Next time I will discuss some more things you should watch out for when preparing for an exterior renovation, so please check back soon!

Updating Old Windows

Aside from the siding of your house, windows probably make the most drastic impact on how your home is viewed by others. Typically, a house in constructed with windows that match the house’s design and compliment its appearance. However, times change and so do houses. Over the years, you might have replaced the siding on your home, changed the style of paint, or made other renovations that have altered to overall “feel” of your exterior. In these cases, as well as a few others, you should consider choosing new windows for you home.

If your home is in a historical district, you may not be allowed to alter the size or overall appearance of your windows. However, older windows tend to leak air, not shut correctly, or be made out of energy inefficient types of glass. While you may not be allowed to change the overall appearance of your window to alter its historic integrity, you may be able to update the window to make it more friendly to your family, and your energy bills. By readjusting the frames the window sits in and updating its sash, as well as changing the type of window your are installing, you can save on energy bills while preserving the historic look and feel of the window. This will make both you and your neighborhood association happy.

A home that is not restricted by some of the more strict guidelines in a historical area has many more options when it comes to replacing windows. For example, you may actually move the location of your windows on your exterior or change the shape and/or size of the windows themselves. It is in these cases that you should consult a specialist to decide what types of windows best fit your exterior. It is also important that you make us of a professional when modifying the exterior of your house to prevent serious damage to your home.

Updating your exterior is not the only reason to replace your windows. As seen in this previous blog entry, there is a vast amount of options when picking which kind of window to use in order to help keep your energy costs low. You would be surpised by how much energy you save just by being able to lock your windows and have them able to shut tightly. So whether it’s for a cosmetic reason or just to replace the glass, there are many reasons to update your old windows, all of which are beneficial to both the appearance and energy costs of your home.

Top 10 Remodeling Projects that Pay Back the Most

Here are Remodeling Magazine’s top 10 remodeling projects that pay back the most. You’ll notice that these are not ambitious, vanity jobs. All are projects that replace worn or aged home components, bring parts of the home up-to-date or add living space without expanding the home’s footprint:

  1. Replacing exterior siding with upscale fiber cement. Siding pays back a whopping 78%, on average, of the $13,461 average cost. The most cost-effective thing you can do to your home this year is to replace old siding with new, higher-end fiber cement.
  2. Replacing an entry door with a midlevel 20-gauge steel door is an inexpensive upgrade at $1,238 on average, but it pays back 73% and greatly improves curb appeal.
  3. A midrange attic bedroom remodel involves popping out a dormer for a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower, insulating and finishing the walls and ceiling, adding four windows, extending the heating and air conditioning and improving wiring and lighting. The payback is 72.5% on the $50,148 expenditure. More living space is being sought as adult children are driven back to their parents’ homes by the shaky economy and as older parents join the households of their adult children. (The Census Bureau says 18% of American households are doubled up now, up from 17% in 2008.) An attic remodel is the cheapest way to add space and a bathroom within the house. A basement remodel is the next most cost-efficient way to add living space, although code requirements for headroom and exterior doors make that project more complicated and more expensive, Alfano says.
  4. A midrange minor kitchen remodel paid back 72.1% of the $19,588 investment. Included are new laminate countertops and new sink, faucets and appliances. The floor is untouched and cabinets are kept in place but refaced with new hardware added. “You’re taking what’s there and giving it a face lift,” Alfano says. “The kitchen really looks good and the average cost for this is under $20,000 – less than what a lot of people would pay for a car.” In today’s austere climate, kitchen and bath remodels are pale imitations of the lavish vanity projects from the housing boom. Most consumers are shunning the expensive spa baths and chef’s kitchens that involve moving electrical services, plumbing and walls.
  5. A midrange garage door replacement may not be high on many wish lists; it’s one of those jobs that you do because it’s needed. But it adds curb appeal and function, and it pays back 71.9%, on average, of the $1,512 average cost.
  6. A high-end garage door replacement recoups almost as much: 71.1% of the $2,994 average cost.
  7. A new wood deck earns back 70.1%, on average, of its $10,350 cost at resale this year.
  8. New foam-backed vinyl siding replacement keeps the house warm and pays back 69.6% of its $14,274 average cost. The average project involves 1,250 square feet of siding, including trim.
  9. New midrange replacement vinyl siding upgrades the look of the home and pays back 69.5% of the $11,729 average price.
  10. Upscale vinyl replacement windows have a 69.1% payback on the $14,328 cost. The project involves replacing 10 double-hung 3-by-5 windows. The new windows are low-emissivity glass and are insulated with simulated wood-grain trim.

For more information on this topic, visit the source of this article at: http://realestate.msn.com/10-remodeling-projects-that-pay-back-most

We serve West Florida &
Surrounding Areas

Morgan Exteriors, Inc. is a home remodeling company that services most of Tampa Bay Area. We are general contractors, however, we specialize in what we know and do best - Energy Efficient Replacement Windows, Doors, Solid-core Siding, Eaves and overhangs, and most exterior improvements.

Give us a call

Connect with Us

Morgan Exteriors

5122 W. Knox Street. Tampa, FL 33634

Tel: 813-931-4663 or 727-502-5300

Morgan Exteriors - Lutz Location

15915 N Florida Ave, Lutz, FL 33549

Morgan Exteriors - Orlando Location

1966 West New Hampshire St, Orlando, FL 32804

Tel: 407-730-7443