Tag Archives: backyard

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

With warm temperatures and long hours of daylight, summer is the ideal time to work on a home improvement project, especially those that are going to spruce up your home’s exterior.

If you get a prompt start, you’ll even be finished in time to enjoy the fruits of your labor before the cool weather makes its inevitable comeback.

Focusing on minor upgrades and energy efficiency that will add appeal and comfort to your home is the smartest thing you can do, especially if you’re considering selling in the near future.

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

Top 10 Summer Home Improvement Projects

If you’re looking for ideas for summer home improvement projects, considering the relative costs of popular home upgrades is a great place to start. That way, you can undertake a project that fits in your budget range and get a jump start on planning future renovations.

Lower-Cost Summer Home Renovation Projects

Looking for a quick upgrade that’s easy on your budget? Consider these popular options:

  • Spruce up your yard: Landscaping is alwasy at the top of every summer home improvement list, and is one of the biggest home improvements that add value to a property. Boosting your curb appeal can be as cheap and easy as laying a new lawn, adding some shrubs and trees and applying a fresh coat of paint to your home’s exterior. Spending on landscaping and doing it wisely, you can greatly add to the value of your home.
  • Update your lighting: Good exterior lighting helps keep your home safe and secure, while improving your home’s curb appeal. Add new fixtures, install motion-detecting sensors and sleep easy.
  • Install a new front door: One of the cheapest, yet most effective exterior changes is as simple as a new front door. Swap your old one out for an energy-efficient, attractive upgrade for just a few hundred dollars.

Summer Projects for Mid-Range Budgets

If you’re looking to spend a little more money without breaking the bank, these mid-range projects are excellent:

  • Install a new HVAC system: This will require an investment of a few thousand dollars, but you’ll dramatically reduce your heating and cooling costs for years to come. And if your central air was installed a few decades ago, upgrading to a more efficient condenser will be a treat for both your family and your wallet!
  • Replace your windows: Swap out your old, drafty windows for dual-pane energy-efficient replacements that help keep cool air in during the summer and prevent warm air from escaping during the winter. Now is also a good time to think about installing curtains, shades, blinds, awnings and window films to help control summer heat gain through windows.
  • Add insulation: Attic insulation plays an extremely important role in the health of your roof and the overall energy efficiency of your home. Review your home’s insulation protection and address problem areas with products that have a suitable R-value for your climate.
  • Do a minor indoor remodeling: Kitchens and bathrooms are high-profile areas that see a lot of traffic. They both offer a high ROI, and you don’t have to break the bank for a high impact result. Invest in a kitchen face-lift: replace your cabinet faces, install new sinks and plumbing fixtures, add a backsplash, update the lighting and add an island. For bathrooms, replacing your dated vanity is always recommended. You’ll be glad you did when the time comes to sell your home.

High-End Exterior Upgrades If You Can Splurge

Making a significant investment in home improvement is a major decision, but it’s one that can pay off in big ways down the road in the form of a dramatically increased resale value.

With summer being a really good time to take a good look at how you experience outdoor living, ask yourself: What do you love about your back yard? How do you use your outdoor space? How can you improve your outdoor living?

Here are some high-budget projects that can further expand your living space to the outdoors:

  • Build a porch, deck or patio: Make better use of your outdoor space by adding a covered porch, raised deck or backyard patio (this post will help you choose your best option). Each offers great ROI,
  • Install a swimming pool: While certainly on the very expensive side of home improvements, this elaborate upgrade will help you make the most of the summer months for as long as you live in your home.
  • Add outbuildings: If you’re running out of space, building a detached garage or shed will solve your storage woes while adding a lot of value to your home.
  • Install a sunroom: When part of your deck is converted to a screened-in porch or sunroom you can enjoy the summer weather without the mosquitoes. A sunroom will extend the season and keep you sheltered from the elements, and it might just be your favorite part of the house no matter the time of the year!

Hire A Professional Home Improvement Contractor

Summer is the best time to take care of your exterior home improvement projects in order to maintain and enhance your home, but unless you’ve got extensive construction skills and experience, you’ll achieve the best results by working with a professional contractor, especially if you’re considering one of the higher-end projects this summer.

Choose a local professional with a proven track record of success in the same kind of work you’re planning, but compare quotes and do your research before committing to a single contractor.

Whether you’re thinking of installing a deck, replacing windows, or building a shed, investing in a skilled contractor can go a long way. Here at Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, we can help you turn your dreams into reality. We are a family owned and operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in interior and exterior renovation and construction, and we make it our mission to exceed our customers’ expectations and provide exceptional service!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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Exterior Home Improvement: Choosing Between Deck, Patio and Porch

With the return of the warm weather, many homeowners look to the outdoors when they cast an eye to home improvement projects. Options abound: decks, patios and porches are all popular, and they can all boost your home’s resale value and livability.

Yet, many homeowners struggle when it comes to committing to one of these options, hemming and hawing over their relative advantages, disadvantages and costs.

To help you reach the decision that’s right for your home and your budget, we’ve complied a quick guide to choosing between decks, patios and porches.

Exterior Home Improvement: Choosing Between Deck, Patio and Porch

Exterior Home Improvement: Choosing Between Deck, Patio and Porch

Step #1: Set Your Budget

As with any home improvement project, the first thing you should do is set a budget limit. Identify a soft lower limit that represents the amount of money you would like to spend, but has enough flexibility to accommodate the unforeseen surprises that invariably accompany renovations. Then, create a hard upper limit that represents the absolute maximum amount of money you can comfortably commit to the project without jeopardizing your other financial commitments.

As a general rule of thumb, porches are usually the least expensive to build, with patios being second and decks usually being the most expensive option.

If your budget is limited, it may be a better idea to stick with a patio or deck, and use whatever financial flexibility you have to make sure it’s well-built and pleasing to the eye. If you’ve got the means to absorb a more expensive project, move on to considering the pros and cons of each exterior home improvement option.

Step #2: Consider Benefits and Drawbacks

Porches offer the following advantages:

  • Quick, relatively easy and practical to build
  • Immediate boost to curb appeal, since they occupy front rather than back yards
  • Low-maintenance
  • Can be covered for protection from weather elements

Yet, they come with these drawbacks:

  • Limited space relative to patios and decks
  • Lower return on investment (ROI) rates, compared to patios and decks
  • Do not usually provide an immediate, impactful increase in property resale value

The pros of patios include:

  • Great ROI rates, with Gallup data indicating they increased a home’s perceived value by about 12%
  • Little to no maintenance
  • A long life of up to 25 years or more, when properly built using sturdy raw materials like natural stone
  • Ideal for low-grade slopes and flat yards

Patios also come with these downsides:

  • Major limitations when dealing with higher-grade slopes and hilly yards
  • Costs tend to rise significantly when building patios on sloped ground, since slopes need to be filled in prior to construction

Decks are great because:

  • Decks have excellent ROI rates, increasing perceived home value by about 10%
  • They are one of the most versatile options, and can be built from a wide range of materials including wood, stone, metal, or composite materials
  • They are the easiest and most practical option for yards with steep slopes

Beyond their higher cost, decks also come with these disadvantages:

  • They typically require seasonal or annual care and maintenance, especially if they are built from wood (this can be avoided by installing a composite deck)
  • Even with proper maintenance, most decks start to wear down faster than patios

Consult a Home Improvement Expert

If you’re still unsure which option is right for you, or if you want to compare specific costs, contact a reputable local construction contractor to discuss your situation and obtain estimates. You can ask for comparative estimates that will specify the relative cost of each option and help guide you to the right decision.

Whether you’re thinking of installing a deck, patio or porch, careful planning goes a long way. Here at Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, we can help you turn your dreams into reality. We are a family owned and operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in interior and exterior renovation and construction, and we make it our mission to exceed our customers’ expectations and provide exceptional service!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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5 Planning Tips for Creating a Perfect Backyard Patio

5 Planning Tips for Creating a Perfect Backyard Patio

A backyard patio adds charm and value to your home, but without careful planning, it can also add headaches. Forethought is the key to a smooth construction process, so be sure to consider each of these important questions before calling your home improvement contractor.

What is the patio for?

Broadly speaking, patios serve one of two functions: they’re either a gathering space, or a getaway space. What will the purpose of your patio be? Are you going to use it to read and relax outdoors during the summer? Do you host a lot of parties and get-togethers?

5 Planning Tips for Creating a Perfect Backyard Patio

Answering these questions will also give you an idea of the best location for your patio. While most are located just outside the kitchen, a gateway patio can be more remote, toward the back of the property. Consider how much sun and shade you want to have on the patio and how private the spot will be. Finding the best part is key to the functionality of your new patio!

What is your budget?

You can’t proceed with backyard patio planning until you’ve established a budget, and especially its upper limit. Creating and sticking to your budget is essential. So is being realistic – separating your wants from your needs is critical in staying within your budget.

When it comes to budgeting, consider material and labor costs, taxes, construction fees,  cleaning materials, and any extra expenses you may have thought of initially.

As you consider the financial side of things, keep in mind that a backyard patio is an investment in your home. A well-built, high-quality patio will add to its resale value, and in some cases, it may even essentially pay for itself in the form of property appreciation.

A couple general rules of thumb to keep in mind as you plan your budget:

  • Don’t commit more than you can comfortably afford.
  • Do not go into credit card or loan debt to build a patio.
  • Take advantage of payment plans if contractors offer them, but be careful about interest rates and calculate total costs carefully.

What will its size and shape be?

Once you’ve figured out your budget and how you want the patio to function, you can start to get into some design specifics. Start with the basics – take a few measurements to determine how big your dream space would be. Experts recommend a minimum of 25 square feet of patio per person and a minimum length of 16 feet.

Also, pay particular attention to your property’s landscape features, as they may play an influential role in the outcome of the final product. For example, if your backyard has a steep downhill slope, you’ll have to incorporate stability and foundation features into the patio design.

If your property has landscape features that demand specific engineering solutions, it’s best to consult with a professional.

What material(s) will you use?

It’s smart to choose materials that complement the color and style of your house. Your budget will further influence your choice, but it’s good to have a solid working understanding of the relative merits of the various popular materials:

Concrete is an economical option, and works very well in level spaces. It’s easy to upkeep and will maintain its original look for many years. Additionally, if your backyard allows for only a small patio, concrete is an excellent option due to its versatility: curves, stenciled designs, or incorporating colors is an easy way to add visual appeal to your backyard.

Pavers and interlocking bricks cost a little more, but can create striking designs that match the existing exteriors of brick homes. They’re also low-maintenance and easy to clean. The initial cost may be higher than other options, but you’ll save in the long run by not having to stain or seal it continuously.

Natural stone has strong visual appeal, but it can be prohibitively expensive, depending on how you source it. If you’re working with a generous budget, it’s well worth careful consideration.

Wood is one of the most popular options, and while it’s relatively easy to build a wood patio, they do require more maintenance. You’ll need to treat the wood annually and be proactive about keeping it clean, or choose composite wood that is durable and practically maintenance free.

What about landscaping & backyard features?

5 Planning Tips for Creating a Perfect Backyard PatioFinally, think about how you’re going to arrange your backyard’s landscape elements to complement your new patio.

  • Break the patio up with greenery  incorporating containers in grouping of different size and height.
  • If practical, trees, shrubs and outbuildings like trellises and gazebos can add shade and ambience to your backyard, making it a more pleasant place to spend a beautiful day or evening.
  • For more intimacy and to create a central conversation area, add a focal point to your patio, such as a water fountain, fireplace or fire pit.
  • Finally, transform your patio to the next level using creative lighting and unique decorative ideas.

When it comes to beautifying your garden with a cozy and functional patio, careful planning goes a long way. To turn your patio dream into reality, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement, a family owned and operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in interior and exterior renovation and construction.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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