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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Maintaining your home’s exterior

Whether you’re a potential buyer or already own your own home, you can appreciate that it makes good sense to protect that investment with regular maintenance. Here in Edmonton, it’s especially true, as our homes suffer the effects of extreme weather conditions.

The materials used in the construction of the exterior of a home have a lot to do with future maintenance. If you’re looking to buy a new home, the amount of wood used in the exterior will be a major factor in how much time, effort and money you can expect to devote to maintenance. Wooden siding, decking, fences, trim and windows all need regular staining or painting to keep them in good shape. Vinyl siding and windows take less maintenance and last much longer, so whether you’re in the market for a new home, or want to determine the salability of your existing property, you can factor in that feature as a big plus.

If you have wood in your exterior surfaces, you’ll extend its lifespan by keeping it clean of polluting chemicals. A good power-washing in the fall and again in the spring will help reduce the unwanted grime that can speed the deterioration of your wood surfaces. Paving stones and driveways will also benefit from an intensive cleaning to eliminate damaging pollutants. And as long as you’ve got the power-washer out, eavestrough gutters should receive a thorough cleaning regularly, at least two or three times a year, to ensure water runs freely away.

If your wood surfaces are painted, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. Paint tends to split and flake off and requires strenuous sanding and scraping to get the surface ready for a fresh coat. Many people are daunted by the amount of work this entails and contract the job out to professionals, which can be quite expensive. A more desirable alternative is the use of stain, which simply fades as it’s absorbed into wood over time and can be reapplied year after year on top of previous coats. Stain rarely needs more than a minimal sanding to smooth out any rough spots and each successive coat you add over the years adds to the protection of your wood. Before staining, remember to repair cracks with wood filler to prevent water from seeping in. Unlike the limited choices of years ago, today’s semi-transparent stains come in a range of colours to suit any style.

When the time comes to replace your fencing, iron and steel fences will last the longest with low upkeep costs, while upgrading the overall look of your property. You may also opt to replace wooden decking with patterned concrete for the same reasons. But while this may add to your home’s appeal and help it sell more quickly at resale time, don’t expect to recover its full cost in the sale price of your home. If you’re considering making changes to your home’s exterior and want to know how it will impact the future resale value of your home, be sure to contact us.

www.edmonton-homes.ca

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