When considering a renovation, many people first factor in the cosmetic changes they can make to their homes. Kitchen, bathroom, and primary suite remodels are at the top of the list, according to Ramsey Solutions. For example, painting the kitchen cabinets and adding new light fixtures are easy cosmetic upgrades to your home, but experts warn that focusing on only cosmetic changes isn’t the best when planning a renovation. Instead, choosing functional upgrades will protect your property and all the work you’ve done to it.
Egypt Sherrod from HGTV’s “Flipping Virgins” and “Married to Real Estate” knows a lot about transforming a house from the inside out. On average, the cost to renovate a home falls between $15,000 and $200,000, depending on the project’s scope and the quality of the finishes you use, says Rocket Mortgage. And when you put a lot of money into the renovation, you want to protect your investment, which sometimes means focusing on the project’s not-so-glamorous aspect. According to My Home Improvement, Egypt Sherrod says that opting for functionality can be beneficial as projects that improve the behind-the-scenes often mean a higher return on your investment. They can also save you from spending time or money on a bigger project or issue in the future.
1. Update your roof and gutters
Your roof is your home’s first line of defense, keeping the harsh elements on the outside. Without its protection, all the work you’ve done on the interior will be for naught. If your yard has a lot of trees, you should hire a service to soft-wash your roof once a year. And if trees don’t shade your lot, go for a soft wash at least twice a year, per My Home Improvement. Hiring a professional to evaluate your roof each year is also a good idea. Weather can wear down or loosen the flashings and shingles if you don’t provide regular maintenance or catch an issue early.
Neglecting your roof can mean leaks that can lead to damage to your home’s structure, shingles, and flashing, says First Star Exteriors. In colder months, snow and ice can also damage the structure. Clogged gutters can cause similar issues with standing water and leaks, so cleaning your gutters with the change of seasons can prevent these issues. Improper maintenance could lead to a roof replacement, which is often more expensive than regular maintenance throughout the year. Bankrate reports that, on average, a roof replacement can cost between $5,601 and $11,729.
2. Get a good water heater
A hot water heater provides warm and hot water to all the systems throughout your house, from the shower in the bathroom to the dishwasher in the kitchen to the washing machine in the laundry room. If you find yourself running out of hot water quickly, you might need to replace the system. There are two main types of water heaters: storage tanks and tankless heaters. According to Consumer Reports, storage tanks are the most common in most homes that haven’t been upgraded. They have a capacity between 30 and 60 gallons, and they continuously heat the liquid inside, so there is always hot water ready to be used. However, this often means a higher energy bill because it’s constantly using power to keep the water hot.
Switching to a tankless water heater means less energy use, so if you want to make your home more energy efficient, opt for this option instead, suggests Egypt Sherrod per My Home Improvement. Tankless water heaters don’t have gallon reservoirs that heat the water inside; instead, water passes through a unit in the wall, rapidly heating up before it comes out of the faucet. In addition, there are whole-house units that can replace a standard water heater and take up less space in the home.
3. Paint your exterior
The exterior of your home also needs a little attention. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your curb appeal, and to keep the color vibrant, you may need to powerwash or repaint frequently. Experts like Egypt Sherrod recommend repainting the exterior of your home every seven years to keep it looking fresh, My Home Improvement notes.
Hiring a professional to repaint your house can cost, on average, $2 to $3 per square foot (via All American Painting Plus). You’ll need about a gallon of paint for every 350 to 400 square feet, but double your final number because you’ll often need two coats. This is important to keep in mind whether you’re planning on purchasing the materials for a professional to use or if you want to tackle the job yourself.
When it comes to choosing a hue, you can never go wrong with neutrals. Whites, browns, and grays will always look timeless, and are some of the most popular exterior paint colors, says Homedit. Black has been trending for exterior paint in recent years and adds a modern touch no matter the home style, but if you’re one for more color, try red or blue for a classic look or green or yellow for something a little brighter.
4. New landscaping and irrigation
Another exterior update should focus on your landscaping. That means planting grass or grass alternatives like moss or clover, which are comparatively low maintenance, according to Elemental Green. To create a garden area, you may also want to add flowers or hardscaping elements like rocks. But don’t overlook the trees in your yard. If you notice signs of an unhealthy or diseased tree, call an arborist to take a look. They can determine if the tree needs to be treated or removed, Egypt Sherrod says, according to My Home Improvement. In addition, consulting an expert early can prevent further issues like disease or pest infestation, both of which can cause the tree to fall.
Cracks, cavities, and holes in a tree’s trunk or limbs are tell-tale signs of an unhealthy tree, warns Green Lawn Fertilizing. Also, be on the lookout for broken or leaf-free branches. Leaves that grow with abnormal colors, shapes, or sizes can also be a warning sign. Finally, oozing sap and fungus can be an indication of disease.
To maintain healthy plants or lawns, you’ll need to water them properly; an irrigation system can make this a breeze. Experts like Sherrod suggest homeowners check their lawn’s plumbing and irrigation systems every year, as lawnmowers and weather can cause wear and tear. In addition, broken irrigation tools can cause a devastating leak or flood, so Ryan advises checking for missing or broken sprinkler heads to ensure your system is working the way it should.
5. Have your HVAC serviced
Your HVAC system helps keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year long. However, without proper maintenance, you might find yourself in an HVAC emergency, which means your home is too hot or too cold. Insufficient airflow could mean an issue with the efficiency of your unit or a blockage, according to All American Heating & Cooling. If the humidity is higher than normal in your home, it could mean that the cooling system isn’t functioning well, and bad odors and leaks can indicate that your HVAC needs attention.
The solution? Regular maintenance. Per My Home Improvement, Egypt Sherrod says that your HVAC unit is another system to check yearly. According to Forbes, you’ll want to have a professional perform preventative maintenance about twice a year. During this checkup, professionals will check the system control and fuel lines as well as clean different components of the HVAC unit. In between professional visits, you should remove clutter around both indoor and outdoor units. You can also perform a quick visual inspection, including checking to ensure the condensate system is properly drained and that the air filters are clean.