Kitchens and bathrooms are usually the first items on a homeowners list to remodel. Kitchen updates add value, comfort, efficiency, and productivity to the home. Bathroom remodels also add the same type of value and comfort to the home. New spa like bathrooms are very popular right now. Kitchens that are built for chefs and entertaining are all fantastic but when these house guests are coming over, what is the first thing they see? Have you ever thought about an exterior remodel? What does an exterior remodel add to a home? What items can be easily updated and what are the extra upgrades and their values?

Windows and Trim

Windows alone usually do not create a different look for a home unless they are re-sized or more windows are added. Adding windows can require a little extra work to the structure, especially when they are added to load bearing walls. Replacing windows require work around the exterior of the window, as well as, the interior of the window sill. Both interior of the window and exterior of the window require trim but that also depends on the finishes the homeowner wants. During the window replacement is a good time to update around the window and add details to the exterior of the home. Wider trim around the windows, and a different paint color all give the new windows a different look. The trim around the window itself can add a completely different look when a crown moulding or drip cap is added to a wider trim around the exterior of the window. New exterior trim materials like pvc, vinyl, and baked wood add durability to the window system. Replacing and adding window wrap and insulation around the rough opening structure of the window gives the window area upgraded efficiency and durability to the structure. The new windows themselves bring comfort, by reducing heat loss and noise transfer from outside.

Entryway Doors

An entry into a home can have a lasting effect. Simply replacing an entry door or adding a covered entry, such as a porch can have a big impact. The options can be endless with a front entry. Adding a sidelight to a door if there is room will bring light into the interior and make the front door more grand. Exterior doors come in a wide variety of materials, from solid wood to a veneer wood or fiberglass to steel. Steel has benefits of a lower cost, pretty good insulation value, with a lot of options for finish and glass. Fiberglass doors like steel have a lot of options and a textured fiberglass door can be finish with stain to look exactly like a wood door. Veneer wood doors and solid wood doors, although more expensive, can really bring the front of the home or entryway to life. The options for exterior doors are endless and can bring any look to your home that is desired. New composite frames and thresholds give the new front doors an added durability. Also remember the addition of trim as mentioned with windows can change the look of an entryway door and tie the windows and doors together.

Entryway Approach

The approach to the entryway of a home have a similar impact to  replacing the front door. If the entryway is covered adding details such as tongue and groove cedar or a painted beadboard to the ceiling can sharpen the look of an existing entryway. Wrapping posts and beams with the same pvc, vinyl, or cedar can drastically upgrade a covered entrance.

What if there is not a covered entrance? Adding a covered entrance is a great way to update a home, especially in rainy Southeast Alaska where it makes a tremendous difference. When adding a cover it’s a great opportunity to add details that tie into the rest of the exterior finish or accent the entryway even further. Adding a covered entrance that is timber framed or post and beam can compliment a home’s exterior appeal greatly. Updating and matching lighting fixtures, house numbers and other exterior details can add to the charm of a home. I have added chandelier fixtures to a couple of covered entries which adds a dramatic effect. Adding an open but covered entryway to the front of a home not only updates and upgrades the home, it also adds some comfort by getting a homeowner and guests out of the rain and snow quicker. In a covered entryway, it’s just as important to fix or update the materials below your feet. Concrete is an old solid standby and adding some color and a stamp pattern to new concrete is a very good way to create a durable, long lasting, and attractive entryway. Tile and decking can also be added on the floor of a covered entryway to enhance the space.

Siding, Soffits, Fascia

On the market today are more options for siding than ever. Each material brings its own look and mixing materials can make an ordinary house look fantastic or a dreary house look dreamy. When replacing the siding of a home keep in mind a couple of weatherization items that will add efficiency, comfort, and durability to a home.

First, when replacing siding, since the old siding will be taken off, see if the air barrier and weatherization barrier needs to be upgraded or added. Next, how about adding some rigid insulation or a spray insulation to the exterior of your home before applying the new siding. Furthermore, most siding materials and especially for this climate, applying the siding with a rain screen to allow for drying and water drainage from behind. Juneau only gets a couple of days a year that a structure can dry and over the last year I’m not so sure we even had that. Rain screen siding allows moisture to drain from the siding, thus, helping in keeping a structure dry and more durable.

Trim at the outside and inside of corners can really finish off a good looking siding job. Also remember the trim around windows and doors and all the options there but don’t forget about the soffit, facia, and gutters. The greatest siding in the world will still look unfinished if the soffits and fascia are not addressed as well.

It’s important to remember that exterior details of the home can give the home warmth and character. Windows and doors with the trim that accompanies, the entry into the home, and the siding all tie in together to create a good looking home from the exterior. Addressing these items in an exterior remodel can add comfort, durability, as well as curb appeal. I will follow up next month with even more items for the exterior of the home including accents, columns, decks, roofs, and additions.

Greg Stopher has over 16 years of experience in the construction field and earned a degree in Construction Technologies from the University of Alaska – Southeast. His company, Stopher Construction, LLC, is a general contracting company specializing in remodeling, custom finishes, additions and new home construction projects. He can be reached at 907-321-2350.