From Euphrasia on March 31st, 2009 in Light Construction
Older homes have a lot to recommend them, from their architectural charm to their established landscaping and the welcoming neighborhoods in which they are often found. But old houses can be a lot of work, too. Anyone who owns one can tell you that.
Spring is an ideal time to take stock of things and plan for projects that can be spaced out over the coming months of warm weather. Once you’ve done the annual spring cleaning blitz – inside and out – you’re in a good position to step back and get a fresh perspective on which, of the many potential projects you see, are the ones you want to tackle this year. Here are a few that might be jumping out and shouting, “Do me first! Do me now!”
Inspect Your Deck
Photo credit: Kim Van Wert General Contractor
How has your old deck fared after the long, hard winter? Now’s the time to see if your deck or porch has any rotten planks or steps or railings that need replacing. If you’ve dreamed of tearing down that old deck or porch and adding a new one, this is the perfect time to start moving that dream into reality. With an early enough start, you’ll be able to finish the project in time to enjoy the results for most of the summer and then into the fall. As with roofing contractors, the earlier in the season you can coordinate meetings, estimates, and schedules with your decking contractor of choice, the better off you’ll be.
Treat Yourself to New Screens
There comes a point when simply scrubbing down the old screens is no longer an option. After years of use, they can eventually get so old and beat up by wind and weather that replacing them becomes the obvious option. For windows, it’s likely that you can find standard-sized screen replacements. Think about treating yourself – and your house – to new screen doors, though. There are wonderful ones available that can give your home a whole fresh look and enhance air circulation during the summer months. If you live in an urban area, you’ll want to consider installing safety doors instead of screen doors. And while you’re at it, you may see the wisdom of adding safety bars on the outside of windows that give easy access to your home.
Patch that Old Roof
Photo credit: Element Construction
Did you notice any leaks over the winter months of rain and snow? Or maybe you just know that your roof is so old that it just needs to be replaced. Whether you’ve got patching and repairing in mind or a whole new roof to be applied once the old roofing is removed, now’s the time to get planning. Since you’ll probably be hiring these jobs out, you’ll want to arrange for meetings with roofing contractors and gathering several free estimates for the work. Scheduling these jobs well in advance of the season’s crush will be a boon to both you and the contractor you choose to do the job.
Plan Your Summer Landscape
After all the winter debris has been raked and cleared, you can look at your home’s surrounding yards and gardens with an eye towards more carefree efficiency and water conservation as the season moves towards summer. Planning a European style garden with pea gravel areas and walkways interspersed with smaller planting beds can update your home’s look and cut way back on your summer water bills. Or you might prefer a more natural look, created with mounds and boulders and a few dramatic trees and shrubs. Your local nurseries will have experts available to recommend drought-resistant species suited to your climate. Landscapers who can either jumpstart or complete your whole project are readily found in most areas, too.
Once you’re in motion with all your plans for projects, you can enjoy the loveliness of your old house for the coming season and many years beyond.