It’s very nearly officially fall, and before winter hits you might want to consider getting some of these outside the home projects handled; at least according to one contractor. Six things to think about getting done according to Darren Voros are:
Siding protects a house from the elements and if it’s breaking down, peeling, or falling apart, it won’t do its job. Darren had a few things to say about your options.
- Vinyl is popular choice because it’s water resistant, inexpensive, and easy to maintain but it can weaken over time which makes it susceptible to damage – particularly when you play baseball in the backyard and home base is within a bat’s throw of said siding.
- Aluminum siding is more of an investment but lasts longer than vinyl. It also regulates temperature well, doesn’t fade as easily as vinyl, and stands up to the elements but it’s easily dented (see baseball note above) so most contractors choose to use it on the higher floors of a home.
- Wood siding is a classic choice. It’s warm and homey and it can be installed vertically or horizontally. It’s also fairly inexpensive, impact resistant and versatile in that it allows you to choose an infinite number of finishes (stains and paint colours). The downside of wood is that it’s susceptible to insects and requires continuous maintenance.
- Cement siding by James Hardie is Darren’s choice because it won’t rot or combust, it’s insusceptible to pests, and very durable. Also, cement lasts such a long time that the initial investment gets spread out over the life of the product making it an affordable option. The downside is that cement siding is fragile during transport and installation requires protective gear so Darren warns, “It’s very important to get the proper equipment when cutting these products. The right saws and blades and above all a good respirator. You don’t want to inhale any of the cement dust when cutting cement.”
Drive Way With Permeable Pavers
Getting a driveway redone is usually a job people leave for the spring, but if yours is warped and cracked and sprouting various types of weeds, why not remedy it before winter hits. Darren suggests permeable paving stones rather than traditional asphalt because, “storm water collection is becoming a significant issue for municipalities across the country and many are implementing measures to avoid the installation of products that are not permeable to water (such as non porous asphalt). Permeable pavers not only look great, they recharge groundwater and discourage pooling of water and, therefore, ice on the driveway in winter.” This project is not for the average DIYer however. The stones require the proper base material in order for the product to be effective so Darren recommends professional installation.
When it comes to fencing, installers are are busiest in the spring and summer, so why not get the job done in the fall? Once again, like siding, there are a variety of fencing options for your consideration.
- Chain link fencing is ubiquitous because it’s inexpensive, durable and requires no maintenance so though Tom Sawyer would likely be a fan of it, chain link doesn’t score high marks in the looks category.
- Vinyl is virtually maintenance free as well and sold in a variety of styles. It won’t warp or rot and it’s not hard to install but it’s pricey and it can break down in harsher climates.
- Aluminum is a good choice for areas where you are more concerned about looks than privacy. It’s also affordable and durable and doesn’t require maintenance.
- Wrought Iron stronger and more decorative than aluminum, but it’s expensive, difficult to work with because of its weight, and you’ll have to sand and paint it every few years or so.
- Wood fencing is a favourite choice for most homeowners because it’s natural, attractive, fairly inexpensive and can be installed in a variety of ways for more or less privacy. It can require quite a bit of maintenance.
Darren suggests a combination of wood and aluminum fencing in a product called Slipfence; an aluminum fencing system that uses wood planks as well. “It’s a durable, strong and long lasting product that won’t rot, warp or shrink over time. The posts install in 8′ (or less) sections and then you can use whatever wood product you want to create your panelling. The horizontal aluminum rails tie everything together and give this product a unique and sharp finish. Also, the wood sections can easily be replaced if a board gets damaged or weathered over time.”
Much like the fencing situation, or the driveway, getting your deck done is something most only consider in the spring when it is coming up to time to put it to use. This not only means that installers are busy, but if you’re a DIYer you’re going to be giving up some of that sunny deck time to putting the new one in.
So why not get it over with now? Common decks are made of pressure treated wood, or if you’re into more natural types, redwood or cedar are nice to look at, naturally resistant to decay and pests and less likely than pressure treated boards to crack, though they are also more expensive.
If a wood deck sounds like too much work, Darren suggests composite decking. Composite is made up of recycled materials and is exceptionally resistant to damage and fading; it also doesn’t need to be sanded or stained. Though it may not have the same warmth or character as wood, Darren likes it because, “It’s long lasting, eco-friendly and can be assembled with invisible fasteners to provide a smooth finish that requires very little maintenance over the life of the product. It installs and cuts like wood and is available in many colours and finishes.” It is also heavy and requires more supports.
Give Up The Grass
If you are tired of cutting the lawn and are looking at alternatives, you might be considering Artificial grass, now is a good time to get that installed if you are. Darren suggests starting small, “Synthetic grass is a great alternative for pet owners or anyone who lives in a more urban environment where they may have a small space that they want to bring some greenery in to.” Though it’ll save you watering and cutting, keep in mind, this type of lawn heats up more than a natural lawn and it’s not biodegradable so when it breaks down in 15 or 20 years, it’s headed for landfill. Finally, at a cost of 10 to 20 dollars per square foot, it’s not inexpensive either. So while it might be a good time for it, you may want to skip this product.
If you are still sick of the grass and looking for a lower maintenance alternative, you might investigate moss lawns.
This seems like a no brainer of a fall project, especially if you’re looking for a smaller job that still offers a significant reward. Adding leaf guards to your gutters can save you a lot of trouble. Darren thinks they’re a good investment because, “They keep large debris (leaves, maple keys, pine cones, etc.) out of your gutters and you can install them over existing systems. The benefit is that you don’t need to get up on a ladder and clean out your gutters as often. They also prevent downspouts from getting clogged with debris and backing up your drainage system, and they make your gutters more durable as well.” If you are doing the install yourself do not do it alone. Safety first.
That goes for all of the jobs, don’t take on more than you can chew, and don’t go it alone. But these jobs could provide you with a project to do as the leaves turn and the temperature begins to drop before winter sets in.
Source: Portia Corman and CBC News.