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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!

Bad Exterior Painting Decisions (And How To Avoid Them)!

The exterior of your house can be viewed as its skin. Not only does it protect you from the elements outdoors and trap the cool air in during the summer, but it also serves as the single most important cosmetic feature of your dwelling. As time goes by, you may find that your house’s skin is not looking so great: it’s chipped in spots and faded in others. Some areas of your exterior may be very difficult to clean, as it seems like dirt has just found a permanent home within it. Perhaps that shade of pastel pink that seemed like an awesome idea in 1986 isn’t so appealing anymore. Regardless of your reasoning, you may feel the need to paint your home’s exterior.

Painting an exterior is much more complicated than painting a room. First off, there are many things to consider, such as what type of siding you have, what type of colors work well in your neighborhood, the climate of the area that you live in, and many others. Then there’s the actual painting of the house, which might seem like an easy task in your head, but upon starting the job you may feel like you’ve ordered more food than you can stomach. It is for these reasons that we’ve put together a list of things you should avoid when you approach the painting of your home’s exterior.

Choosing the wrong type of paint

As technology continues to advance in computers, cell phones, tablets, etc., it also continues to advance in the field of paint. There are many options available when choosing which paint to use, so consider a few things when choosing it such as its resistance to fading, mold and mildew, and ultra-violet radiation. You should also research how easy the paint is to work with. You may also do your part to be environmentally friends by choosing a paint that is low-VOC and eco-friendly. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, be sure that the paint has a high durability that will keep it looking good for many years regardless of what type of climate you live in.

Choosing the wrong color

You may think that you are a home-renovation fashionista, but more than likely you should still run your color choices by others to be sure you aren’t making a horrible decision that you’ll regret for years-to-come. Talk to professionals, particularly contractors, architects, and realtors to determine which color choices best match your style of house and neighborhood. A bad color choice will leave your home looking tacky until you can afford to paint it again or you’re lucky enough for the color you picked to come into style (it probably won’t).

Bad preparation

Did you know that a thunderstorm can completely undue an entire day’s worth exterior painting work? Do yourself a favor and double check the forecast before you drag your ladder out of the garage- it will save you time, money, and a broken heart. Also, closely inspect the exterior of your home before you begin painting. Be sure you remove every fixture (mailboxes, house numbers, etc.) and cover all of your nearby plants to prevent them from being painted. Don’t forget to put painter’s tape around your windows and other areas that you don’t want the paint to leak on. I would also recommend moving any vehicles away from the house, as sometimes wind can blow bits of paint away from the area that you are working on. Failure to do these things can lead to damaging your property or at least making your painting endeavor more stressful than it needs to be.

Doing a poor job

One of the most important rules of home renovation is to never be impatient. Take things slowly. Watch videos on YouTube that teach proper painting techniques. When you purchase your brushes or paint, be sure to ask the professional if you are buying the correct materials. Always know when you should be using a brush and when you should be using a roller. If you know that you’ve made a mistake, fix it as soon as possible. Don’t leave it for later, as you will probably be tired and make an excuse to just leave the eyesore as is.

Not knowing when to get professional help

Never take on a job that is bigger than what you can handle. It is a waste of materials, time, and money to start a job only to abandon it. Painting the exterior of your home is a long and laborious process. If you don’t have the time, patience, or expertise to take on a project this big, or if your house is large and has a lot of complicated angles, etc. than you should probably hire a professional. There is no reason to throw out your back and drain your bank account only to have a half-painted exterior. Really think about what you are about to take on and get at least a few professional quotes before you dig the overalls out of your dresser drawer.

By carefully planning and doing a small amount of research, you can save yourself a lot of time and money and come out with an awesome, newly-painted exterior that you can be proud of.

How to Safely Decorate the Siding on Your Home

To make your home more beautiful or to celebrate different holidays or seasons, you may want to hang decorations on the side of your house. This can be tricky with a vinyl-sided house because you shouldn’t drill or nail through the siding. Holes can cause water to seep behind the vinyl, creating problems for your home. Fortunately, there are several methods that you can use to hang decorations on the side of your house that do not create any holes in your siding.
Hang a vinyl siding hook on your house. This is the most efficient method. Slip the top of the hook underneath a piece of siding and wiggle it until it “snaps” into place. This hooks it onto the bottom of the siding. Then hang your decorations on the bottom of the hook.

Attach a cup hook to the side of your house. Clean the area where you want to attach the hook thoroughly with soap and water then dry it. Dirt interferes with adhesion. Wipe down the area with some rubbing alcohol and dry it. Wet the suction cup, press it firmly to the siding. For best results, leave the hook for a day before adding decorations.

Hang a wire hook from the vinyl soffit trim. This is the trim that connects between your vinyl siding and the soffit. Make a hook by cutting a short length of wire with a wire cutter and bending it into an S-shape with pliers. Be sure to choose a metal that won’t rust. You can either hang items from the hooks directly or attach pieces of fishing line to the hooks. Fishing line enables you to hang decorations lower on the walls, as the hooks themselves will be close to the roof. This is a good method if you have a lot of small items to hang or if you want to hang something like a string of lights.

For more information on this topic, visit the source of this article at http://homeguides.sfgate.com/hang-decorations-vinyl-siding-38111.html

Summer Exterior Home Maintenance Projects

Maintaining your home is as important as any task you will complete this summer. Knowing what and how to maintain and how to complete any repairs is sometimes the hardest part of getting started.

#1 GARAGE DOOR

Your garage door is probably one of the most used and neglected parts of your home. Keeping it in good working order is inexpensive and will save you a ton of money in the long haul.

Materials: Lubricant, Wrench, Car Wax, Clean Rags, Detergent diluted with water

* Check all moving parts to be sure none are bent or broken.
* Check and lubricate all rails, axles, hinges, springs, rollers, etc. . . .
* Wipe down your door with diluted detergent to clean away debris.
* Wax the door. This will keep new dirt and debris from collecting on the surface.
* Paint wooden doors inside and out and caulk all cracks and gaps.
* Check weather sealants on the bottom of the door.

#2 RUST REMOVAL

Rust can deteriorate and ruin many metal items in the home. Regular maintenance can prevent rust from ever appearing.

Materials: Wire Brush, Metal Primer, Rust Resistant Paint, Paintbrush

* Use wire brush to scrape away loose rust. (If possible brush down to the bare metal)
* Clean away old paint.
* Apply metal primer.
* Repaint metal with rust resistant paint.

#3 MAINTAIN YOUR YARD

Yard maintenance not only increases curb appeal and resale value of your home, it simply looks and feels good.

Materials: Pruning Shears

* Check trees for dead hanging limbs and remove.
* Trim your bushes and vines. (Bushes and vines hold moisture and can contribute to mortar damage.)
* Trim unkept plants. (Unkept plants leaning against a home are the perfect entrance path for creepy crawlies)

#4 MAINTAINING SIDING AND CRAWLSPACES

Your homes siding and crawlspaces are its keys to the outside world. Keeping these areas, clean and repaired will lengthen the life of your home.

Materials: Vapor Barrier, Flashlight, Foam Pipe Wrap, Siding Cleaner, Scrubber, Hose

* Clean your siding. (Remember to apply cleaner from the bottom up and rinse from the top down to keep siding streak-free)
* Clean tough spots with a scrubber.
* Remove mold and mildew. (Siding soaks up mold and mildew like a sponge, decreasing the integrity of the siding)
* Poke your head into the crawlspace with a flashlight. Look for moisture and evidence of termites.
* Check the dirt floor (if you have one). The dirt may look dry, but actually be wet.
* Check your vapor barrier. (If you do not have a vapor barrier, one can be easily made from a variety of materials such as foil or plastic.)
* Check pipe wraps on exposed pipes. If pipes aren’t wrapped, wrap them.
* Check sewer lines under toilets for leaks.

#5 REPAIRING AND CLEANING DECK

Decks are a wonderful addition to a home. Not only do they add value, but living space as well. Maintaining your deck will take very little time and effort and the return is well worth the work.

Materials: Screwdriver, Hammer, Garden Hose, Socket Wrench, Deck Cleaner, Dust Broom, Plastic Sheet or Tarp, Rubber Gloves, Scrub Brush, Deck Sealant

* Clear the year’s worth of debris from in between the floorboards. This debris holds moisture and can cause the floor to rot.
* Sweep Deck.
* Check for water damage, splintered areas, and rotten boards.
* Hammer in any loose or protruding nails.
* Make sure rails are tight.
* Tighten the bolts holding the deck to the house.
* Clean and rinse your deck with deck cleaner. Be sure to protect any plants that may be damaged by the cleaner.
* Apply deck sealer.

Home maintenance can be overwhelming but is so very necessary. On those cold winter nights and hot summer days, you will be glad you repaired and maintained the home that protects you.

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.

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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