From Engineering on March 31, 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 youve done the annual spring cleaning blitz inside and out youre 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? Nows the time to see if your deck or porch has any rotten planks or steps or railings that need replacing. If youve 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, youll 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 youll 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, its 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, youll want to consider installing safety doors instead of screen doors. And while youre 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 youve got patching and repairing in mind or a whole new roof to be applied once the old roofing is removed, nows the time to get planning. Since youll probably be hiring these jobs out, youll want to arrange for meetings with roofing contractors and gathering several free estimates for the work. Scheduling these jobs well in advance of the seasons 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 homes 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 homes 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 youre 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.