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5 Tips for Planning Your Exterior Home Improvement Project

The idea of planning and completing a major exterior home improvement project—a new roof, siding, door or windows—can be daunting. Which installers do you choose? How long will it take? Which kinds of materials are best for your home? What kinds of things should be top of mind while planning? We've got the answers here.

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Roofing Tiles Spanish style rooftamara321/Shutterstock

Choose the Right Installer

Choosing a trusted installer is the most important thing when planning a home improvement project, according to James Pearce, a sales manager at Sears Home Services.

“This is almost more important than the product itself,” he says. “Too many times have I seen people who are disappointed with either the way the job came out, the workers themselves, or just plain old dissatisfied because the contractor over-promised and under-delivered.”

It’s better to invest in a company that you know will have your best interests in mind, he says, cautioning people to remember the old adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—and could cost you more if you have to redo the work.

“Don’t continue down the path of shady contractors and have to pay for future repairs or redo the whole project,” he says. In other words, get it done right the first time.

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mid-century modern home with glassPhoto: Courtesy of A Parallel Architecture

Plan Your Timing With Weather in Mind

It may seem like common sense, but there are good reasons to choose the start time for your project wisely. Although many people aim to complete projects by April or so, any months during spring through fall are prime time for revitalizing the exterior of your home, Pearce says.

But keep an eye on the calendar, because as colder weather approaches, the materials you’re using may not perform as they should. Pearce advises that roofing be installed when it’s 45 degrees or warmer in most cases. Cold weather can lead to moisture problems, including rot, for both windows and siding. With Weatherbeater siding, Sears installers adapt their methods based on temperature to ensure the right fit.

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replace damaged vinyl sidingFamily Handyman

Consider a Project Manager to Stay on Time and Budget

Intimidated by the idea of a major exterior project like new siding or a new roof? Worried that the project might run into infinity and beyond, when it comes to time and budget? If you choose to do a renovation with Sears Home Services, you’ll also get the services of a project manager who helps keep your project on schedule and who hires reliable vendors and subcontractors to get the job done.

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Replace WindowsSpeedKingz/Shutterstock

If You’re Going Big, Do it in Phases

Replacing your windows, for example, will freshen and update the look of your home and will help you save on energy costs. But doing the whole house at once takes time and can be a large expense. Do it in phases instead, Pearce advises. Where you start is up to you. You could do the front of your home one year and the back the next. Or do the bottom floor and wait to do the top floor next year. That way, your budget won’t take as big of a hit.

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Mint Green Front Door with Brick1000 Words/Shutterstock

If You’re Going Small, Replacing Your Entry Doors is a Great Place to Start

Many homes have doors that let in an exorbitant amount of draft, Pearce says. To save on energy costs, one of the easiest ways is replace those old inefficient doors in your home. Adding doors in deep, rich colors like red or green can really change the look of your home and won’t break the bank.

Bottom line: Planning, finding a trusted installer and keeping an eye on your budget go a long way in making your home-improvement vision a reality.