House exterior improvements

Last updated: March 2024 | 3 min read

Transforming your home's exterior is not just about aesthetics; it's a smart investment for adding value to your home. This guide reveals how choices like a stylish front door or energy-efficient windows can enhance your property's appeal. Learn strategic steps similar to those in a RIBA building contract guide and key considerations for starting a garden room, elevating both your home's function and market worth.

Introduction: Why consider house exterior improvements?

Improving kerb appeal and property value

House exterior improvements can transform your property's appearance. A revamped exterior can greatly enhance kerb appeal, the first impression your home makes. This change often translates into a higher property value.

In the UK, where the housing market is competitive, a visually appealing exterior can make a significant difference in the perceived value of your home. Additionally, these improvements can set your property apart in a neighborhood, potentially making it more attractive to potential buyers.

Enhancing energy efficiency and weather resistance

Another key aspect of house exterior improvements is the boost in energy efficiency and weather resistance. In regions like Surrey and London, weather conditions can vary dramatically. By focusing on the exterior of your house, such as adding roof insulation or selecting new windows, you can enhance your home's ability to retain heat and resist adverse weather.

This not only makes your home more comfortable but also reduces energy costs. Upgrading to energy-efficient options is a forward-thinking investment that pays dividends in both comfort and utility savings.

Understanding planning permissions and regulations

What permissions are needed for exterior changes?

Exterior home improvements often require planning permission, especially in the case of significant alterations. For homeowners in Surrey, London, or similar UK regions, it's essential to verify if your project needs approval. Planning permission is mandatory for major changes like extensions, significant alterations to the roof, or adding outbuildings.

Even smaller modifications, such as certain types of cladding, may need consent if your home is a listed building or in a conservation area. Local authority websites offer detailed guidance and application processes. Remember, securing permission before starting work avoids legal complications and potential fines.

Navigating UK building control for exterior modifications

Building regulations are a separate entity from planning permission, focusing on safety, energy efficiency, and design standards. These regulations apply to most building work, including replacing windows, altering load-bearing structures, and updating heating systems. Compliance is crucial for the legality and safety of your home exterior makeover.

Engaging with your local council's building control department at an early stage can streamline the process. They provide expert advice on meeting the standards and can conduct inspections to ensure compliance. Ignoring these regulations can result in having to undo or modify the work at your expense.

Choosing the right front door for your home's exterior

How to select a front door for different architectural styles

Selecting a front door that complements your home's architectural style can transform its exterior. For Victorian houses, traditional wooden doors with stained glass panels offer authenticity. In contrast, modern homes benefit from sleek, minimalist designs in materials like steel or fiberglass. Consider the house's color scheme and structural elements. A front door in a bold color can become a very dominant feature, especially against a neutral exterior wall surface.

Cost analysis: Comparing front door options

Front door choices vary widely in cost, influenced by material, design, and security features. Wooden doors, while aesthetically pleasing for period properties, can be more expensive and require regular maintenance. Composite doors, made from a blend of materials including wood fibres, offer durability and thermal efficiency at a mid-range price. For those seeking a budget-friendly option, uPVC doors provide a cheap and fast way to update a home's exterior, although they may lack the character of more traditional materials.

Window replacements: Balancing aesthetics and thermal efficiency

FENSA regulations and replacement windows

Compliance with FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) is crucial when installing replacement windows in the UK. FENSA ensures that the window replacements comply with building regulations, focusing on thermal efficiency and safety. Homeowners should ensure the window supplied by the contractor meets these standards. This is especially important in period properties, where maintaining the architectural style with new and aged samples of windows is key.

Cost vs. benefit of new windows

Weighing the cost against the benefits of new windows is vital for homeowners. While initial expenses can be significant, the long-term savings in energy bills and improved thermal efficiency should be considered. High-quality double or triple-glazed windows can significantly reduce heat loss.

Additionally, new windows can enhance the house exterior makeover, boosting its curb appeal and potentially increasing its market value.

Period style small casement vs. modern sliding sash windows

Choosing windows that match your home's era maintains its character and aesthetic appeal. Small casement windows, often found in older, period properties, offer charm and authenticity. Conversely, modern sliding sash windows suit contemporary homes, providing a sleek look and improved functionality.

When selecting windows, consider not just the style but also the material, from traditional timber to modern uPVC, each adding a different dimension to your home exterior.

Roof coverings: Options for modern and period homes

When to opt for a roof replacement

Roof replacement becomes necessary when repairs are no longer feasible. For a modern house, consider the age and condition of the current roof. In period homes, historical integrity is crucial. A moss covered roof might add character, but it can also signal underlying issues. Regular inspection helps homeowners decide when to replace. Factors influencing this decision include weather damage, material deterioration, and aesthetic concerns.

Comparing roof tiles and other covering materials

Roof tiles are a popular choice for UK homes. They come in various materials like clay, concrete, and slate. Each offers different benefits. Clay tiles suit traditional designs, while concrete tiles offer a contemporary appearance.

Slate tiles, often seen on Victorian houses, provide longevity and elegance. Modern alternatives include fibre cement weatherboarding and interlocking concrete tiles. The latter are cost-effective and easy to install, suitable for both period properties and modern homes.

Adding roof insulation for energy efficiency

Adding roof insulation is a key step in an exterior makeover. It's vital for energy efficiency, especially in the UK's variable climate. Insulation can be added during roof replacement or as a separate project. Options range from rigid insulation boards to more flexible materials like mineral wool. For flat roofs, specific solutions like foam boards are available. Always ensure the chosen insulation complies with building regulations. Proper insulation not only saves on energy bills but also boosts the overall comfort of the home.

House cladding: Types and their impact on your home's exterior

Comparing timber, composite, and laminate cladding

Timber cladding, a timeless choice, offers a warm, natural look, enhancing the character of your home. It fits seamlessly with various architectural styles, especially in rural settings or traditional properties.

Timber requires regular maintenance, including treatments to prevent rot and warping. Composite cladding, a blend of wood fibers and plastic, mimics timber's aesthetic while offering increased durability and lower maintenance.

It's ideal for modern houses seeking a balance of style and practicality. Laminate cladding, often the most budget-friendly, provides a wide range of finishes and designs. Its ease of installation and minimal upkeep make it suitable for homeowners looking for a quick, cost-effective exterior makeover.

Costs and benefits of different cladding options

Timber cladding, while initially cost-effective, incurs ongoing expenses for maintenance and treatment. It boosts insulation naturally, aligning with energy-efficient home goals. Composite cladding, though pricier upfront, balances costs with its longevity and minimal maintenance needs. It's a sound investment for modern house owners valuing both aesthetic and practicality. Laminate cladding presents the most economical option, offering a quick transformation of an ugly exterior without substantial investment. However, its lifespan and impact on property value are less significant than timber or composite options. When choosing cladding, consider not just the initial expense but the long-term implications on your home's value and upkeep.

Fire retardant coating and safety considerations

Safety is paramount in house cladding choices. Recent regulations emphasize the importance of fire-resistant materials, especially in modern house exteriors. Timber cladding, though charming, necessitates fire retardant treatments to meet safety standards.

Composite cladding often includes fire-resistant properties, making it a safer choice without compromising on style. Laminate cladding, subject to specific manufacturing standards, should also comply with fire safety regulations.

Always ensure that your chosen cladding aligns with UK law, particularly in newer properties or extensive exterior redesign schemes. Consulting with local authorities or experts in house meets regulations can guide you in making a safe, compliant choice for your home exterior.

Exterior painting: Transforming the look of your house

Selecting the right masonry paint

Masonry paint transforms your home's exterior, offering a refreshed appearance. The market offers diverse options, from classic matte finishes to modern, breathable formulations. Consider a paint that complements your house's architectural style and surroundings.

For a Victorian house, rich, deeper tones work well, whereas a more modern home may suit lighter, subtle shades. Breathable paints are essential for older properties to prevent moisture build-up. Always verify the paint's compatibility with your existing building materials.

Costs and preparation for exterior painting

A fresh coat of masonry paint requires thorough preparation and budgeting. Costs vary, depending on the paint quality and the extent of the area covered. Budget for additional expenses like primers, brushes, and potential scaffold hire.

Preparing the surface is crucial. This involves cleaning the exterior walls, repairing any cracks, and removing old, flaking paint. Professional painting services might add to the cost but can ensure a higher-quality finish.

Hiding minor cracks and imperfections

Exterior paint serves more than aesthetic purposes; it can mask minor imperfections. Selecting the right type and texture of paint is key. Textured paints are excellent for hiding small cracks and inconsistencies on the surface.

However, for significant issues, consider repairing before painting. Pay attention to the weather conditions; a dry, mild day is ideal for exterior painting, ensuring the paint adheres well and dries evenly.

Expanding your living space: Extensions and conversions

Designing rear extensions for additional living space

Rear extensions offer a practical solution to increase your home's square footage. In Surrey and similar UK regions, this addition harmonizes with the house's exterior and adds valuable living space. Planning permission might be required, especially for period properties.

The key is ensuring the extension complements the existing building, both in design and materials. A common approach is using materials matching the main structure to create a seamless addition. Glass is often a popular choice, allowing for a flood of natural light and a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Garage conversions: Practical tips and costs

Converting a garage into living space is an effective way to expand your home. This conversion requires careful planning to ensure the space meets UK building regulations for insulation, ventilation, and fire safety. The costs can vary, with major factors including the need for insulation and the introduction of natural light through new door openings or windows. It's not just a case of repurposing a space; it involves a complete transformation that requires structural and aesthetic considerations. The addition of insulation, proper flooring, and heating are essential steps in this process.

Integrating natural light in extensions and conversions

Maximizing natural light in extensions and conversions enhances the livability of the new space. Skylights in a flat roof or large feature windows can transform a previously dark area into a bright, inviting space.

In Surrey, where many homes have unique architectural styles, the integration of natural light should be sensitive to the existing design. Thoughtful placement of windows not only improves the aesthetic but also boosts insulation and energy efficiency.

Improving curb appeal: Landscaping and exterior design

Landscaping your front yard for maximum impact

Landscaping the front yard significantly enhances a house's exterior appeal. In UK regions like Surrey, a well-designed garden can complement the architectural style of your home.

Key considerations include selecting plants that thrive in local climate conditions and creating a layout that requires minimal maintenance yet offers maximum visual impact.

The use of contrasting cladding materials or adding a fresh coat of paint to the front door can also contribute to an inviting entrance.

Choosing exterior design elements for curb appeal

The selection of exterior design elements is crucial in creating a lasting first impression. Elements like the front door, garage door, and external improvements like stone cladding or fibre cement weatherboarding can greatly enhance the curb appeal. It's important to consider the overall redesign scheme, ensuring a cohesive look that reflects the particular architectural style of your home. The best front door colours or the addition of a large feature chimney can serve as focal points, while the use of brick slips or other materials can boost insulation and add to the home's aesthetic.

FAQ: Addressing common concerns and questions

How do exterior improvements affect house value?

House exterior makeovers can significantly impact property value. This effect varies depending on the type of renovation. For example, a new roof or replacement windows cost initially but may increase the home's resale value. In Surrey and London, where property aesthetics are highly valued, these improvements can be particularly beneficial.

It's not just about aesthetic appeal; energy efficiency upgrades like adding roof insulation also contribute to a home's market value. However, it's crucial to balance investment with potential return. Local market trends and the current state of the property play key roles in determining this balance.

Can you clad over brick? Understanding the process

Cladding over brick is a viable option for a home exterior makeover. It involves applying a new layer, like timber or contrasting cladding, over existing brickwork. This method offers a fresh look and additional insulation. However, it's essential to ensure the house meets regulations set by the local authority.

In the UK, planning permission might be required, especially for period properties or homes in conservation areas. Additionally, the existing structure's condition must be assessed to support the extra weight and ensure proper installation.

Period features vs. modern design: What adds more value?

Deciding between preserving period features and opting for a modern design depends on various factors, including the property's age, location, and existing architectural style. In areas like Surrey and London, period features often add significant charm and value to a property.

However, incorporating modern elements like new interlocking concrete roof tiles or energy-efficient replacement windows can boost insulation and functionality, appealing to a contemporary market.

It's about finding a balance that respects the home's original character while meeting current living standards and efficiency expectations.

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