How to sharpen up your home’s exterior

Visitors’ first impression of your home is set before you even open the front door. A well designed hallway can change an opinion but it’s its outside appearance that has the initial impact. It takes the average person 8 seconds to decide whether they like a home enough to buy it and even if you’re not planning on selling up, you owe it to yourself to make the best of your property.

Revive your front door

Front doors are out in all weathers so it’s no wonder that they suffer over time. If yours could do with a scrub up, give it a new coat of paint and finish or replace the door altogether for one that’s brand new. A sparkling number plate and door knob or handle sets the tone for what you can expect to find inside. Polish your door furniture with a specially designed brass or silver cleanser, or a general purpose cleanser that’s solvent free if you’re working with crystal.

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It’s also important to pay attention to door hinges. A squeaky home implies an old home and a lack of TLC. Rub the hinges with a cloth containing glycerin-free soap (as regular soap will cause them to rust) and a few drops of olive oil. If the squeakiness continues, use a hammer to carefully remove hinge pins and coat them with petroleum jelly before you put them back in position. For a door that’s too loose, tighten up the screws.

If you have an outside light, consider adding another one to the mix. Lights work best in pairs, when they’re standing (or hanging) symmetrically.

Refresh greenery

A well-kept lawn hints at a neat and tidy home. De-weed, mow the grass and trim bushes and shrubs. If your garden is a solid mass of one colour, add some colourful plants to the borders to brighten things up. The great thing is that plants are so versatile so even if you’re working with a paved driveway, you can bring in some potted plants underneath your window ledge, or install window boxes on the ledge itself. There are many different boxes available now so selecting one to match the style of your home shouldn’t be difficult.

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Touch up a concrete drive

Pavement cracks are unsightly by themselves but they can also be a magnet for weeds. Apply weed-killer and repair cracks with a cement and water based grout before staining concrete with a coloured resurfacer if you’re looking for a quick upgrade that doesn’t involve replacing the path. If the cracks are deep and potentially dangerous, you’ll need to hire a professional for expert help.

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Treat siding

Don’t ignore cracks or gaps in the mortar between the bricks on your siding, or bricks that seem to be coming loose. Cracks that are a quarter of an inch or less won’t cause damage but larger ones could be a sign of a foundation problem which will need assessing by a professional builder.

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Also look to see if you can spot any flaking, chipping or bubbling paint on the outside of your home. Once paint starts to wear thin, it exposes your siding to the weather. Use a paint scraper followed by a wire brush to dislodge any paint that’s clinging on for dear life and finish up by cleaning the wall with warm water. Once you’ve prepared the surface you’re free to paint. A friend of mine attempted to touch up a section of a wall rather than paint the entire surface and ended up making her home look worse with clashing colours, so always use the same paint that you had originally or take a few paint flakes to get it professionally matched from a home improvement store. If you’re just retouching, spread the paint further than just the area that you’re painting so it diffuses and blends with the old coat.

Inspect caulk joints and weep holes

Take a quick look at your caulking where brick or stone comes into contact with the window sill or vinyl. It’s easy for moisture to build up and wear through the caulking. The same goes for the holes in brick and stone where water drains away from your home. If you spot dirt or water blocking them up, consult an expert to clear them for you so that you’re left with a fully functional, visually appealing home that begs you to take a walk inside…

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  1. the pictures are all of basically interesting looking houses. How to improve the outward appearance of an uninspiring 1960/70s chalet bungalow recently patched up rendering has to be covered so inspiration required. Some of us do have to live in boring boxes!!

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