With summer in full swing, you may be planning to host barbecues, lounge by the pool, and head on that long-awaited family vacation. While the warmer months are certainly a time to relax and enjoy the sun, the longer days and fair weather also make summer the perfect time to work on home improvement projects. From replacing old windows to pressure washing your house, here are six simple home improvement projects that will turn your home into a summer sanctuary.
1. Replace Windows
Drafty windows can cause your energy bill to skyrocket since your air conditioner has to work overtime to maintain your desired temperature. To improve your home’s energy efficiency and avoid high heating or cooling bills, make sure to address problems with old windows now so you don’t have to deal with them in the colder months.
Not all drafty windows need to be replaced. Depending on your situation, adding plastic weatherstripping, using window inserts, applying caulk, and reglazing loose windowpanes are all ways to reduce escaping air.
If you plan on replacing your windows entirely, opt for double-paned (also known as double-glazed) windows that feature Energy Star and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels for the ultimate energy efficiency. Depending on your local climate, you may want windows that are designed to reduce heat loss or protect against heat gain. If you’re not planning to replace the windows yourself, it’s best to hire a licensed contractor as soon as possible to ensure the project gets finished in time for any upcoming heat waves. And if you’re not planning on replacing your windows immediately, you may want to schedule the project for the spring, before the summer heat arrives.
2. Reduce Humidity
Humidity in the home can become especially unbearable during the summer months — and even lead to mold, mildew and rot if left unchecked, depending on your climate. If you’re wondering how to reduce humidity in your house, you can start by turning up your AC, which will naturally decrease humidity by filtering out hot air in favor of cold air. Make sure to replace your AC filter regularly to ensure it is working properly, which will make your home more energy-efficient.
You can also use ventilation fans when cooking or showering, buy a dehumidifier to help remove moisture from the air, and fix any leaky faucets or pipes to prevent water from getting into the air. If you have items that are particularly sensitive to humidity and don’t want to risk damaging them, you can store them in a climate-controlled self-storage unit. Keeping furniture, art and other objects in a self-storage unit helps protect against both summer humidity and sun damage.
3. Pressure Wash Your Home
If you’re looking for an easy project that will instantly help your house look better, try pressure washing the exterior. Pressure washing removes dirt, mold, mildew and other debris from your home’s exterior, which helps reduce wear and tear. You can either hire a contractor to complete the job for you or purchase or rent a power washer so you can do it yourself. The latter option is relatively inexpensive since most pressure washers cost between $35 and $100 per day to rent. While this is easier on your wallet, it will require extra grunt work: You’ll need to avoid angling the spray upward to prevent water from getting underneath the siding, and you should exercise caution when pressure washing a deck or patio so you don’t damage the wood. If you aren’t feeling confident in your level of expertise, you can call a professional.
4. Refinish Your Deck
Summer is the perfect time for enjoying your backyard or hosting guests. Since all of these activities are best enjoyed outside, it’s important to make sure your patio or deck is in tip-top condition. Decks can quickly become worn from harsh weather, but refinishing your deck is a cost-effective alternative to replacing it entirely (and it’s one you can easily do on your own).
To determine if you need to seal the deck, put a few drops of water on one of the boards. If the board absorbs the water, the deck needs to be sealed, but if the water beads, the wood is already sealed and doesn’t need to be redone. You can then clean your deck and remove any debris and dirt from the surface. Next, sand the entire surface.
After that’s complete, you can stain the deck with your desired stain (just make sure it’s the right one for your deck’s type of wood). Water-based stains need to be stripped off before you apply a new finish, while oil-based stains can simply be recoated after using a deck cleaner.
|Tip: Once your deck has been refinished, you can upcycle the space with some DIY pallet furniture to provide your guests with seating options, or pallet art to make your deck even more inviting.
5. Finish Landscaping Projects
Since you’ll be spending lots of time in your yard this summer, why not tackle some of the landscaping projects that you’ve been putting on the back burner? Start by removing any dead or overgrown trees and shrubs to make the yard look more appealing. To add some instant curb appeal, you can then plant an array of low-maintenance perennials in your front yard or alongside the walkways. Rather than just planting whatever is prettiest, do some research to find out which plants and flowers are native to your area since that will be better for the environment.
If you’ve been wanting to take your green thumb skills to the next level, you can also plant a garden (whether by creating your own garden patch or trying your hand at container gardening). And don’t forget about the backyard, either; hammocks, fire pits and patio furniture are surefire ways to liven up the space. Make sure to wipe down outdoor furniture, clean rugs and repair damaged screens to get the space ready for a new season. While you can tackle landscaping or gardening projects on your own, you can also hire a professional landscaper or gardener if you need a little extra assistance.
6. Design an Outdoor Kitchen
If you’re feeling extra ambitious (and reticent to heat up your kitchen by using the oven), why not design your own alfresco kitchen? Having an outdoor cooking area will make it easier to entertain guests during the warmer months. Before embarking on the design, think about what you want the space to entail (and how much you can spend for your budget). It’s important to consider what type of food you want to prepare, how big you want the space to be, and whether you’ll need to acquire any special permits before you begin the building process. Once you’ve figured that out, you can call in a contractor to complete the process.