It’s said to never judge a book by its cover, but it’s rather difficult not to judge a house by its appearance. If a house seems neglected, we tend to expect worse when walking in. Many homeowners change their home’s siding only when there’s been water damage, bulging brick, or other issues. This explains why we often see homes with outdated exterior looks. Homeowners tend to prioritize indoor renovations, such as kitchen renovations and bathroom remodels as these spaces are used daily. Although a nice kitchen or bathroom is preferred, the house’s exterior should never be neglected.
Whether it be for aesthetic reasons or practical reasons, our experts have gathered 6 elements you’ll need to consider before giving your home’s exterior a face lift.
Why Change Your Home’s Exterior Appearance?
Giving a modern twist to your home’s facades not only transforms the general appearance of your property, but also increases its value. Furthermore, doing so ensures it has a longer lifespan as its components are in top shape (i.e. brand new). Different changes can be made, whether it simply be changing your windows and doors, or giving your home a complete makeover. It’s therefore important to take a step back and think about what your needs are as well as what’s motivating you to go ahead with this transformation before even getting started.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before giving your home’s appearance a face lift:
- Why do I want to change the appearance of my home?
- What do I want to change?
- Do I just want to make minor modifications or go for a complete makeover?
- What style would I like for my home?
- Do I plan on living here for many years to come or will I be moving in the coming years?
- What’s the average value associated to houses in this neighbourhood? Is the investment well worth it?
- What’s my budget for this project?
Once you’ve really thought about your project, it’s time to take a look at the possibilities. What elements can you change? What will you need to learn to make sure your project is a success? Check out the following sections to get a better understanding of what you can change to make your home’s appearance seem like new!
Elements to Consider When Giving Your Home a Outdoor Makeover
1. Exterior Siding
One of the first elements that come to mind when you want to give your home a brand new appearance would be changing its siding material. There are many options on the market, like engineered wood, CanExcel, vinyl, bricks & stones, etc. Nowadays, many homes combine more than one material to give off a modern look. For instance, one side of your home can have a mix of engineered wood, brick and stone. Typically, stone would be used for accent elements/sections as it is more costly. It can be used on columns, or on the foundation.
Your home’s siding protects it from extreme weather conditions. Neglecting it can cause humidity, mold, or water infiltration issues. A well insulated home also allows you to save on heating and cooling costs. So, why not take care of it or change it?
It’s possible to give your home a modern look without changing all its siding. You can simply change one facade of your home without modifying the other sides and still get the desired effect.
Taking a look at different siding options before getting started is sure to help you avoid common mistakes and provide you with the outcome you’re looking to achieve.
A well-installed roof usually goes unnoticed. However, if your roof is in need of some TLC or is of an odd colour, it’ll surely be the first thing someone notices about your home. If you choose to give your siding a face lift and go for modern grey tones and black, but keep your old red roof, the final result won’t look so great! Changing the exterior of your home means taking everything into consideration, not just your roof or siding. Each element isn’t necessarily independent from another.
It’s also important to note how crucial your roof’s health is and give it a quick inspection. Just like siding, your roofing material protects your home from what Mother Nature throws its way. A tiny bit of water infiltration that goes unnoticed can cause some major issues on the long term.
Depending on the changes you want to make, your roof’s structure might also need to change. If that’s the case, you’ll need the help of a structural engineer as your home’s framing will be modified to follow the newly designed plans. Of course, this kind of change is rather drastic and likely to cost a pretty penny, but the final result would be spectacular!
Take a look at our pitched roof material article to get a better idea of what kind of roofing material would work best for you and your budget.
Do you have an exterior cladding project?
3. Windows and Front Door
Although seemingly trivial, your home’s front door can completely change its look! Modern or classic, made of wood or metal, there are so many styles out there! When picking out a door you prefer, take care to properly pick out a door handle or knob as well. Given that the knob is frequently used, it’s worth investing a little more for something of good quality and sophisticated. If you’re a tech junky, know that there are many smart home systems, like those sold by Weiser, that allow you to have a digital keypad or the option to unlock your front door with your smartphone.
Changing your home’s facade is likely to make you change your windows and doors, especially if you’d like to opt for a new colour and want to ensure each element of the facade has a long lifespan. You might also add some windows or change the dimensions of those you already have. Changing part of your facade is the perfect time to take a look at what window and door options are out there. This is especially true if your windows need replacement, due to problems like air infiltration, excessive condensation, fogging, etc.
Find more information on the subject on our Windows and Doors page.
4. Add a Front Porch
Adding a front porch to your home gives it character. If there’s a roof above it, it also protects the entrance door from snow during winter months. Depending on your house’s shape, you can add a porch lengthwise which allows you take advantage of the space during warmer months.
If you already have a front porch, give it a fresh new look by changing the material it’s made of or painting its railing. These simple changes can greatly alter your home’s appearance.
5. Landscaping and Flooring
Landscaping can transform your property’s appearance rather easily. Without putting in too much effort, simply maintaining the landscape and strategically adding a few plants can change the ambiance created around your home. You wouldn’t want to have a home with brand new siding, yet with poorly kept landscaping!
Before investing sums of money into landscaping, ask a horticulturist for their opinion. They’ll know what kind of plants you should purchase according to what kind of sun exposure the front of your home gets, what kind of soil is on your property, and your gardening skills. Don’t have a green thumb? Opt for large pots that will look great regardless of whether there are plants in them or not. Besides nice plants, make sure the pavement leading to your porch and driveway is in top shape.
6. Outdoor Lighting and Address Plaques
Often, when changing our home’s exterior appearance, we take advantage of the change to switch out (or add) outdoor lighting. The lighting you choose can drastically change the final result. It’s like the cherry on the sundae! It allows you to create a pleasant ambiance, provides visibility when its dark out, and can help highlight elements you love about your property.
Why not also change your address plaque for a more modern-looking one while you’re making some changes? Your imagination is your only limit: whether it be your address on a Plexiglas plaque, metal cutouts of your address’s numbers, a wooden plaque, it truly is up to you!
Exterior Siding Designs and Trends
Homes come in all shapes an sizes, all likely to follow certain trends. Our experts have put together the main house designs you’re likely to see when walking through residential neighbourhoods: farmhouse, modern, Scandinavian, traditional and transitional. No matter which style you prefer, a monochrome look is the way to go. Canary yellow and sky blue are no longer on trend and that’s definitive! In the last couple of years, black windows and doors have gained a lot of traction. For a farmhouse look, black windows look best with white, whereas they can be paired with grey tones and wood when it comes to a modern look. Keep in mind that because of the sun, the colours you choose will look much lighter than on samples seen in showrooms.
When it comes to masonry, sleek stones provide an elegant and clean look. They’re the way to go when opting for a modern design.
Do I Need a Permit?
To get your home’s siding (or even roofing) renovated, you’ll need to get the city’s authorization. Depending on where you live, you might not be permitted to completely alter the appearance of your home – especially if you live in a heritage home. So your home remains integrated with the look of the neighbourhood, you might need to keep some or all the original brick or stone when revamping its look.
Also, note that you cannot easily go from brick siding to vinyl siding (or vice-versa). It can be that your home’s original foundation isn’t built to withstand the extra weight or that it is rather thick in comparison to the how thin vinyl siding is.
Given that each city and borough is different, you’ll need to check with them in terms of permits before going ahead and beginning your project. You might even need to get official plans drawn up by an architect or technologist before the city grants you with the appropriate permit.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Siding?
Many elements can come into play when deciding to revamp your home’s facade; which explains why costs can vary so dramatically from one facade change to another. The materials you choose will affect the project’s cost much more than the renovation itself. Of course, speaking with a Renovation Advisor or another expert can help you have a better understanding of what your project can cost you. Below, you’ll find some basic information to help you out.
Changing your home’s exterior appearance requires the assistance of many professionals. First off, you’ll need to take into account that plans need to be drawn up. The square footage of your house will determine whether you’ll need to hire an architectural technologist (less than 3,200 sq.ft.) or an architect (over 3,200 sq.ft.). If you can hire a technologist, you’ll need to budget anywhere between $1,500 and $3,500 for plans. If you need to hire an architect, their fee is typically between 7% and 10% of your project’s total value – and will not cost below $3,500. Beyond these costs, labour will also need to be taken into consideration, ranging between $33.77 and $62.90 per hour.
If you decide to replace your home’s siding with predefined materials like CanExel, for instance, budget costs between $6 and $12 per square foot (material and installation included). For windows and doors, it’ll typically cost around $1,000 per window for PVC windows and about $2,000 for an aluminum front door.In terms roofing prices, it’ll cost you between $3.15 and $5.25 per square foot for asphalt shingles.
We recommend you meet with at least three contractors in order to get quotes that differ. Doing so will help you make an informed decision and gain valuable information & suggestions, all while making sure you’re paying a fair price.
What Kind of Contractor Should I Hire to Change My Home’s Appearance?
When comes the time to change your home’s exterior appearance, you should hire a general contractor that specializes in exteriors (one that specializes in siding/cladding, roofing, etc.). Hiring just any contractor isn’t your best bet. Why? Because a general contractor that doesn’t necessarily specialize in siding or roofing won’t have the know how in terms of material properties, how to install them, etc. The tiniest infiltration can go unnoticed for almost 10 years – meaning there’s likely to be quite a lot of damage. A specialized contractor is therefore your safest bet.
Why hire a specialized general contractor as opposed to hiring someone from a siding company? It’s simple: when changing your home’s exterior appearance, the contractor will need to be able to run the show. He’ll need to hire electricians for exterior lighting, roofers if you choose to change your roof as well, window and door professionals if you plan on changing those too, etc. And, he’ll need to do it all without wasting time or resources.
How Long Does an Full Exterior Makeover Take?
Getting the permits alone can take a few months. Afterwards, you’ll need to keep in mind that good contractors tend to be almost fully booked. Planning a few months ahead of your project’s intended date is best. Plans from architects or technologists can take a few weeks. Then, depending on how complex your home’s transformation is, you’ll need to allow time for demolition, the building of any new structure, the brick or stone installation, or any other masonry project, the time it takes to change the windows and doors, the roof trusses if you opt to change the roof’s shape, etc.
Often, people decide to change their home’s look when they begin a home addition project. Adding a second storey, or a garage, will typically make you wonder whether or not you should try to find a matching siding material or go for something completely new. People will rarely reinvest in siding that is no longer on trend just to cover up a newly added section to their house. Take a look at our home addition page to gain a little more insight on the types of home additions available to you, the costs associated with them along with steps to follow for a successful home addition.
Siding Transformations: Before & After
Take a look at some of the transformation projects our 360° Verified Contractors completed:
Find more on our RenoInspiration page.
A Renovation Advisor is Always There For You
At RenoAssistance, we believe that renovations should be stress free. That’s why we have our Renovation Advisors on the front line to answer any questions you have throughout the entire process, all at no cost, no obligation. Think of your Advisor as your personal renovation assistant. They’ll be there to answer your questions, help you understand the quotes that come your way, and provide you with access to 360° Verified Contractors. These contractors have all undergone a rigorous verification process with us so you won’t need to worry. We take care of taking a look at their financial solvency, stability, their liability insurance policies, past client references, and much more.
Happy Renovations Start Here.
I'm here to help you
- Francis / Renovation Advisor at RenoAssistance