5 Spring Home Improvement Projects for the Lone Star State

Spring’s arrival offers everyone the opportunity for renewal, and that includes renovating and improving your Texas home. Whether it’s new doors, a room renovation, or just landscaping, now’s the time to add some convenience and some value to your home. Where to start? Let us help you out.


Some of these projects may require advanced skills if you try to tackle them yourself. Remember to research your project thoroughly before you start, and if you think it might be over your head, talk with a professional.


1. Install a sun tube to bring natural lighting inside your home. 


A sun tube is a tube-shaped skylight. The inside of the tube is covered with a reflective coating that extends down from your roof into your living space and provides natural daylight. They’re not as hard to install as a full skylight nor do they take up as much room. But they do let you bring sunshine down into a normally dark part of your home —such as a room or hallway on the north side of your home.


2. Make a more welcoming entryway. 


Curiously enough, one of the biggest returns on investment for your home at sale time is a new steel front door. Not only do you get the security of steel, there’s also the energy benefit from the magnetic weather stripping that works really, really well. The return on investment at resale averages 101%! 


Of course, one big way to make your front entryway even more secure is to improve it’s overall visibility from the street —which adds to your home’s curb appeal. You also want the landscaping to compliment your home but not hide the doorway. That way, your visitors will always feel welcome and safe when they arrive.


3. Garage upgrades.


If you have an attached garage, having an insulated garage door can help reduce your energy costs. But how they are rated can be tricky. Garage doors are basically panels with metal hinged frames. The panels might be insulated, but the metal frames can conduct heat out of the garage and reduce the effectiveness of the insulation. Still, it’s better to have something than nothing — so do your research carefully and consider your options carefully.


One thing to include, however, is a garage door threshold seal. The seal attaches to the concrete where your garage door closes and acts like a gasket to fully close your garage, shutting out weather, dust, and mice. Some use landscaping glue to attach it to the concrete, others use screws. Either way, it’s a handy way to close a 16 to 20 foot gap.


4. Install a self-sealing dryer vent. 


For less than $20, you can close off one of the leakiest drafts in your home and seal out varmints as well. The UltraSeal Dryer Vent attaches to your existing dry vent outside. When the dryer is running, the air flow keeps the vent cap open. When it stops, the cap drops down over the vent pipe opening. This totally killed a major draft in our laundry room this past winter. One note: while this is made of good quality plastic, UV radiation will degrade it after a few years (especially during winter). Before installing it, paint it with a few coats of epoxy appliance spray paint.


5. Update Your bathroom. 


There’s the much touted (but scarcely cited) headline that “In 2011 bathrooms became more important to home buyers than kitchens.” That’s not really surprising given how many design choices and features are available now compared to the past. The main ones, like oversized bathtubs (including spa tubs) and lots of bathroom storage are very important if you’re thinking about the return on your remodeling investment. It can be as high as 85%. Adding a second sink is great, too, if you have room. A great source of bathroom design ideas are found at Houzz.com.


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