Top Home Improvement Projects for Fall
The leaves are changing, and there’s a crispness in the air, which means one thing for the homeowner—time to tackle those last-minute home improvement projects before winter hits.
Fall can be an ideal time to update, improve or upkeep aspects of your home. It’s a cooler season than summer, which means less sweat for you, but also less swelling or expanding in the materials of your home.
In a month or so, it might be too late to take on many of these projects. Getting a jump on your to-do list and taking care of these fall home improvement projects means you could be done before winter’s cold weather hits.
In the last warm days of the year, you might want to consider taking some time to address exterior projects that will keep you warmer, and your house in better condition, over those cold winter nights.
Taking care of your lawn now means less work when spring rolls around. A few key projects:
• Removing Leaves. Leaves on your lawn mean less light and air for the greenery beneath. Raking leaves off your lawn may help keep grass from becoming soggy and moldy.
• Aerating the Soil. To put it simply, aerating your lawn means poking holes in it, making it easier to breathe. This can be accomplished a few ways, but your best bet is renting a lawn aerator for an afternoon.
• Fertilizing Your Lawn. Putting down a fall fertilizer before the first freeze means your grass is getting the nutrients it needs to thrive, even when the cold weather emerges.
Getting a fresh coat of exterior paint before cold weather and snow may extend the life of your home’s trim and siding. Fall often means more stable temperatures, and most manufacturers recommend painting homes in 40 F weather. On average, painting the exterior of a home can cost between $1,700 and $3,900 , depending on your location; however, a touch up around trims will likely cost you less.
Forget about spring cleaning, power washing the exterior of your home may be an ideal preventative measure before winter. Not only will your home look inviting during the holiday season, but power washing the exterior and windows of your home can help keep mold and mildew at bay during the wet winter months. Keeping your exterior clean of mold typically means longer periods between replacements on the siding.
Not all homes take kindly to power washing , but it may be able to be DIY-ed in an afternoon with equipment rental. Professional power washing will typically cost you between $180 and $380 on average, depending on your location.
Fall foliage is stunning, but when it falls in your gutters, you could end up with clogs, leaks, and damage to your roof or foundation. Some common issues may be:
• Clogged Gutter. Armed with a pair of gloves, clean the muck and grime from the gutters. After clearing, flush the gutters out with a garden hose. Nervous about heights? You can hire a professional for between $50 and $250 based on the size of your home.
• Sagging Gutters. Over time, your gutters can sag or pull away from the home. Neglecting sagging or pulled away gutters means you could end up with gutter on the ground in the middle of winter. One option to keep this from happening is replacing the hangers on your gutter, which typically cost around $10 each.
• Leaks. Minor holes and leaks inside the gutter can usually be repaired with a sealant. Larger holes may require a patch in addition to gutter sealant. A tube of sealant typically costs around $5, and repairing a leak can be done by novice DIY-ers.
The sunny and humid summer days may lead to warping and cracks in your roof. As the weather cools down in the fall, you might want to consider checking your roof for damage. Roofing is not typically an easy feat for a homeowner, so calling a pro might be your best bet.
Fall is an ideal time to take care of roofing issues because winter weather is often too cold to seal or repair issues on the roof. Hiring an expert to tear off and replace a roof typically costs between $40 to $80 an hour , depending on the size of your roof.
As temperatures cool down in the fall, it can be the perfect time to take on more labor-heavy projects. Lower, drier temperatures in the fall also mean features in your house will contract, exposing gaps or cracks that may bring cold air in during the winter.
Cooler fall temperatures will lead to contractions in wood and walls, exposing cracks and gaps in walls, doors, and attics. With the untrained eye, you might notice cracks in your window where you can add weather strips, but truly weatherproofing your home is usually done best by a professional. Hiring an energy auditor may provide professional-level attention to areas in the home where warm air can escape in winter months.
Most homeowners spend between $200-$640 on a home energy audit. This can lead to big savings on the back end when gaps and cracks are filled; you may save somewhere between 5% to 30% on heating and cooling bills.
There are government funds available to assist eligible low-income households with weatherization, such as those from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) . Some other helpful resources are your community’s energy provider or your state’s utility commission .
Don’t wait for the season’s first frost to discover your furnace is faulty. Instead, you might consider contacting an HVAC repair company to run a standard maintenance check on the system.
A maintenance visit may cost between $50-$70 on average and could go up from there pending any issues with your system. Keeping your furnace running efficiently may mean lower heating bills even in the coldest months of winter.
Replacing and Cleaning Carpets
Lower fall temperatures mean you might want to open windows to air out your space. You may want to rent a carpet steamer from your local hardware store to lift stains and odors. Be forewarned, steaming your carpets can lead to wet carpets, so might want to choose warm, dry days where you can throw windows and doors open, or bring your area rugs outside to dry.
If you want to opt for a professional carpet cleaner, you’ll likely spend between $120-$230 depending on the amount of carpeting and the size of your home.
Prepping Your Fireplace for Winter
If you’ve got a working fireplace in your home, chances are you’ll want to use it in the cold weather months. Before chopping logs, taking some time to make sure your chimney and fireplace are flame ready may mean peace of mind during the winter.
To check your fireplace yourself, opening the flue and looking toward the top of the chimney may help to ensure there’s nothing blocking access to the chimney.
Additionally, you may want to think about double-checking the seal on your damper to make sure cold air won’t creep in during the winter.
That’s not it. If you’re planning on building fires in the winter, you should consider getting your chimney inspected by a professional. They’ll look for cracks and damage inside the firebox. On average, an inspection may run between $350-$400 .
Maintaining Your Financial “Home”
To see how much it would cost to update other areas of your home, check out our Home Improvement Cost Calculator. While you’re checking off your fall home improvement list, you’re bound to encounter a few unexpected costs, and you probably don’t want your finances to keep you from home upkeep.
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