Everyone has probably heard the old joke about Canada having just two seasons: winter and construction. On the individual level, substitute the term “home improvement” and you probably have an accurate idea of how many homeowners feel.
When you own a home, there are always chores and tasks on your “To Do” list. Summer is the perfect time to attend to many outdoor projects and to plan ahead for others. And, if you can’t bear the thought of wasting precious outdoor time on home improvement endeavors, you can always hire someone to do them for you.
Improvements That Pay
Carla Bouchard suggests that you focus on projects that add to the resale value of your home, such as adding a deck or a patio; installing a lawn sprinkler system; or landscaping your property.
“Be sure to invest your time, money and resources in a project that is going payback when it comes time to sell your home,” she told Canadian Home Trends magazine.
Decks and patios add visual interest to your property, she said, while also providing you with an enjoyable living space. Sprinkler systems water your lawn evenly and allow you to dictate the timing, which can be handy during water advisories. They also prevent waste and lower water bills; homeowners usually use 50 percent more water on their lawns than necessary. Landscaping is an easy way to improve the look of your property.
If your home already has a deck, summer is an ideal time to seal it and repaint or stain it. Sealing the deck helps to preserve the wood and protect it from weather damage, while painting or staining it give it a sharp, fresh look. If money is a concern, contact your local household hazardous waste program — there is often unopened paint available.
- Paint, wherever you obtain it, is also handy for painting the exterior of your home. Paint spruces up your home, giving it a fresh, new look; but it also serves a practical function, protecting against moisture and ultraviolet rays.
While you’re eyeing the exterior of your home, consider a couple of other tasks that are much more practical in summer than winter:
- Cleaning your eavestroughs and washing/and or replacing your windows.
- Eavestroughs should actually be tended twice a year, and they’re not hard to do if you own a ladder. While you’re clearing away the leaves and debris, check for any cracks or leaks.
Focus On Your Windows
Looking out the windows at the flowers and greenery makes summer more of a pleasure, so make sure you can enjoy the view by cleaning your windows inside and out. If you choose to do it yourself, there are inexpensive cleaning solutions that give the glass a real sparkle:
- A vinegar-water mixture or a few drops of dish soap in warm water.
- While you’re washing your outdoor windows, consider applying caulk around the frames. Caulk keeps outdoor air from seeping in through potential cracks, lowering heating and cooling bills. It also prevents water from seeping into your walls to cause mildew and rot.
- You can also give your windows a fresh, new look by replacing them. If you’re seeking better insulation or more sunlight, this is the time of year to invest.
Spruce Up The Grounds
When it comes to landscaping, one easy way to give your grounds a fresh look is to add mulch. Apply three to eight centimetres of mulch to your flower beds to give them a fresh, new look. At the same time, you’ll be helping to smother weeds and to hold moisture in, reducing the need for watering.
You can check with your local utility company or tree service to see if they offer wood chips or shredded bark for use as mulch; they often sell it cheaply.
Summer is also a good time to consider the shade available on your property and think about whether it’s adequate or not. It’s a perfect moment to plant trees that will provide cover in the future, but if you’re seeking relief from the sun right away, there are options: umbrellas, pergolas or covered porches. There’s no need to suffer in the hot sun if you prefer the shade.
Time For A New Driveway
Last, but not least, summer is the appropriate time to repave your driveway. You can choose asphalt or concrete; asphalt is less prone to cracks. Summer is its season, because asphalt adheres better when it’s warm. With a shiny, new driveway surface, you’re less likely to experience potholes come winter – that other Canadian season!
So, if you’re waiting longingly for vacation or looking for projects during these “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” why not re-read this article and take action?