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Improving Your Home This Spring

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 @ 12:00pm

Watching spring slowly come after a long winter is one of the most satisfying things. For us as contractors, it means no more frozen noses on the job site, which is something I really appreciate.

In general the construction industry really picks back up in the spring as people start to poke around their homes and recognize where they need to focus their renovation efforts for the year.

As a homeowner, the first thing you want to do during the spring is to walk around your home and take note of the areas that were damaged by the winter season. If any of your major structures are in need of repair, there’s your first job during spring home improvement season.

When is the best time to start home improvement projects?


To me, renovation season begins in the spring and ends in the fall. Your first job as a homeowner is to ensure that your home is properly guarded against the elements. So during the spring time, you’d be taking on projects to clean up any damage caused by a long winter season, and in the fall, you’d look into taking extra steps that will prevent the home from taking an unnecessary beating during winter.

If the home is up to snuff, spring is a good time to start planning your major renovation projects. Start early – you may not be able to book a contractor for a few weeks, or months.

My advice: don’t plan a renovation around a milestone date, like holidays or graduations. Delays happen, and you’re just asking for disappointment. Nobody wants to eat Thanksgiving dinner with their contractor.

If you’re not sure where to begin this spring, three good projects to look at are your roof, your landscaping, and your air conditioner.

When is the best time to install a new roof?


Ultimately, there’s no WRONG time to install a new roof. It can even be done during the winter time if necessary. That said, you want to replace your roof before it requires a major repair – as you want to prevent the elements from seeping into your home.

Spring is a good time to add a new roof – assess the damage that’s been done over the winter period. Look for curled or missing shingles, or granules gathering in the gutters.

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If you think you need a new roof, don’t wait. Start making the calls to your roofer now. Their schedules will fill up quickly, and you don’t want to wait too long to replace a failing roof system.

My advice: I like a metal roof, it’s long lasting, and it’s durable. No matter which roofing system you choose, make sure you do your research and purchase one with a good warranty system – and have it installed professionally!

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A new, durable roof is a good selling point for any potential buyers, so if you’re looking to sell in the next few years, redoing the roof now can see a big return on your investment.

What cheap ways can I use to increase the value of my house?


I never like to use the word “cheap” when it comes to renovations because to me, that implies cutting corners, and skimping on quality. To me, a cheap upgrade is one that makes a few visual changes, without caring about the quality of the structure underneath. It’s shady, and too often I see homeowners get taken in by flashy finishes, who don’t understand the value of what’s behind the walls of a home.

With that out of the way – there are lots of projects you can do that are INEXPENSIVE, but can still have a positive affect on your home’s value, without skimping on quality.

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The biggest value additions in your home typically come from kitchens and bathrooms. If the rooms are structurally sound, you could consider taking on projects like refacing your cabinets, changing your bathroom fixtures, or upgrading your kitchen lighting.

What is the value of a spring landscape clean up?


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Landscaping can seriously bump up the curb appeal of your home.

I always say there are two kinds of value when it comes to your home. There’s the monetary value – what the home is worth, and how that value changes with your renovations and additions. But there’s also value from the way you use the home throughout the years.

Upgrading your landscaping with patio stones and fresh plants won’t drive up the value of your home, but it can be a satisfying way for homeowners to put their personal stamp on their homes

People ask me all the time if lawns help increase the value of home. As good as they look, they don’t do much for your value – but a well manicured lawn can create a strong first impression for people visiting the property.

First impressions matter – and a home that wows potential buyers from the get-go with a good looking exterior can help it sell more quickly, even if it doesn’t make the home sell for more.

How to choose the right plants for a garden?


To me, a good garden is also a sustainable one. If you can, populate your gardens with lots of local plants. Why? They typically require less water and maintenance than more exotic species, meaning we require less water to keep them fed. As a bonus, local plants can also provide food for our local animals, keeping a nice sustainable ecosystem for our furry neighbours.

If you’ve got a big green thumb, choose one or two non-native plants to focus your extra care and attention on, but try to leave much of the garden as natural as possible.

For those of you who love lush green lawns, and full gardens, consider connecting a rain barrel to your eavestrough to collect the water runoff from the roof. This gives you a renewable source of water to keep your lawns and gardens fed, without relying on water that’s been treated for human consumption.

What’s the best way to cool a home without air conditioning?


The best way to cool your home without relying on the air conditioning is to prevent the heat from getting in in the first place.

With clever placement of trees, you can create a natural sun block that prevents the heavy sun from beating through your windows which means less reliance on your air conditioner. Don’t plant without a plan – tree roots can grow wild, and penetrate the pipes around your home. Before planting any trees, consult a landscape designer who can make suggestions.

If trees aren’t a possibility – you could install a UV films on your windows, or install some heat blocking curtains.

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Is there any way to save money on air conditioning?


At certain points during the summer, the heat becomes unbearable and we have to switch the A/C on. When that happens, what’s the best way to keep our energy bills down?

A properly sealed home is the best way to curb the cost of your monthly air conditioning.

Sealing gaps and cracks throughout the house will keep the cool air in your home.

You’ll want enough insulation in your attic space to prevent major heat loss. Doors and windows can be huge energy sucks as well. Stand by your windows and feel if there’s a major temperature difference between it and the rest of the room.

Going around the home to replace worn and missing caulking and weatherstripping can reduce drafts by up to 30% which will have a major impact on how much energy it takes to keep your home comfortable.

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