ENHANCE YOUR CURB APPEAL
ENHANCE YOUR CURB APPEAL.
There are simple, economical ways to add color and interest that will instantly boost curb appeal. You can clean your fence, mailbox, door and house numbers, hang window boxes packed with colorful flowers and plant ground cover under trees. But if you want to take a deeper dive into dressing up your home’s exterior – and save money by doing it yourself – read on.
BEFORE YOU START
Walk across the street and take a good look at your home and yard. What are your first impressions? There’s always a little room for improvement. We suggest four tasks to boost curb appeal: Cleaning, Painting, Pruning and Repairing.
Clean the Gutters
Gutters clogged with leaves, mud, twigs and trash cause dirty water to overflow and stain the siding, so remove the debris that has collected inside. Handheld blowers or wet/dry vacuums are effective tools for removing debris, particularly on dry days when leaves are loose and light. Blow out as much loose debris as possible and collect it in yard refuse bags.
This is also a good time to see what kind of shape your gutters are in. Check if your drainage system shows any signs of corrosion. Look for holes or leaking joints and check for loose, missing or bent gutter hangers.
Use a gutter scoop to remove compacted debris. Attach a bucket to your ladder with a wire hook for more efficient collection. Start at the downspouts and work your way in, but avoid pushing debris together — this can create more clogs.
Wear heavy gloves for protection. Sharp objects such as thorns and roofing nails can end up in gutters.
Be careful when working on a ladder. For reaching high areas, you may want to invest in an adjustable ladder stabilizer.
Clean the Siding
Clean the exterior of your home. A pressure washer will provide the best results. If mildew is present (black or gray spots), you’ll need to remove it by washing the surface with a mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP), bleach and a stiff brush. Wash from the bottom to the top to avoid staining.
TSP is highly corrosive, so be very careful when working with it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear old clothing and gloves.
Wash the Windows
Wash windowsills and frames with mild detergent and water before you begin cleaning the glass. Clean the windowpanes using professional-strength glass cleaner and a large squeegee. Start at the top and work your way down to prevent drips. Using the squeegee, make your first stroke across the top of the pane, with the blade angled so you only clear the top two inches of the glass. Wipe the blade clean with a cloth. Clean the outside from left to right and the inside from top to bottom to help you to see which side the streaks and smudges are on. To avoid streaks, don’t clean windows when the sun is shining on them.
Refresh the Exterior
A fresh coat of paint can liven up the look of your home. When painting aluminum or vinyl siding, use an exterior latex primer and paint such as True Value® EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Paint in Satin Finish. If you will be painting brick, concrete or stucco, prime with a latex masonry and concrete primer/sealer and paint with True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Exterior Masonry/Stucco Paint. If you have wood siding, use True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Exterior Primer/Sealer and then paint with True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Exterior Paint.
Flat and satin sheens are good for exterior siding because they’re non-reflective. Semi-gloss and gloss sheens are typically used for shutters and trim. Vinyl or aluminum siding that is slightly dented or worn looks best when repainted with a flat sheen because it camouflages imperfections more; a satin finish is a better choice when the siding is in good condition. Semi-gloss finishes are tough, easier to clean and resistant to mildew and chalking.
Use the True Value paint calculator to estimate how much paint you need.
When using a ladder to reach high areas, invest in an adjustable ladder stabilizer that attaches to the ladder and braces onto the roof. For more detailed information, read Refresh Your Home’s Exterior.
Maintain Your Landscaping
Your plants, shrubs and flowerbeds need regular trimming, weeding, raking and mulching. And that goes for your lawn, too. Make sure you keep it freshly mowed and edged against sidewalks and walkways (and don’t forget to pluck any weeds growing in sidewalk cracks or between bricks).
If your grass looks unhealthy, bring it back to its full, green lushness by fertilizing, and reseeding any thin or dead patches. When adding fertilizer, carefully read product instructions before applying.
If reseeding, use a hand rake to loosen and turn over the soil. This allows the soil to receive more oxygen and water. Or use an aerator to thoroughly stir around the loose soil to prepare it for fertilizer, seeds and water. Water the area, giving it a good, long soaking. Spread fertilizer and topsoil (if needed) to the patch and then water thoroughly again. Spread grass seed over the area using a seed spreader (for larger areas) or by hand (for small patches). Lightly aerate the soil again using the hand rake or an aerator to work in the seeds and fertilizer into the soil. Water the spot every day for a month or so until the grass blends in with the rest of the lawn.
Add hay or straw mulch to facilitate sprouting, particularly on sloping areas. This helps prevent soil erosion and cuts down on watering. However, don’t use too much mulch. The more you use, the more likely you are to get weeds.
Don’t start mowing until the new grass is about 1½” tall.
Fix Driveway Cracks
Maintain Your Front Door or Entryway
Fix Window Screens