7 Home Improvements Your Friends Will Want to Copy
With historically low mortgage interest rates encouraging many Edmonton homeowners to refinance their mortgages, many are taking advantage of the substantial savings they’ve earned to reinvest in their homes.
If you’re one of those forward-thinking owners who is considering a home renovation project but isn’t sure what to do, you’ll want to choose something that will add to the aesthetics and value of your home, reflect current trends, and be so spectacular that all your friends will want to copy it.
Consider these 7 home improvements that fit all three criteria:
1. Custom Windows
You’ve probably heard the term “curb appeal” when realtors talk about the amenities of a home. New custom windows make a lasting first impression as they provide a stylish complement to a variety of architectural designs.
New maintenance-free windows come in a variety of exterior colours, interior finishes, shapes, sizes, and energy efficiencies.
Whether you need one window or an entire house full, the experts at Ecoline Windows recommend a full-frame installation for homes experiencing problems with damage, rotting, or leaking. This will ensure the entire window frame is inspected and equipped with new components. You can then select from a variety of custom all-weather window styles—casement, hung, awning, slider, fixed, bay or bow—to best fit your home’s architectural and budgetary needs.
If your main goal for replacing your windows is to improve energy efficiency, you can select a retrofit replacement, where only the glass and frame are replaced. This process is less expensive but does not confirm the structural integrity of the materials underneath.
Choosing LoE (low-emissive) coatings on the interior glass panes or Argon gas-injected glass units will reduce solar heat gain and filter harmful UV rays in the summer and retain interior heat for comfortable temperatures in the winter; potentially saving you thousands of dollars in heating and cooling bills over standard windows.
2. Custom Decks and Pergolas
Another popular trend in home improvement, custom decks and pergolas provide additional living space while making room for relaxation and entertainment. Decks can be single-level or multi-tiered and be a reflection of the interior design of your home or an opportunity to try something new and exciting.
Adding a pergola to your deck will help provide much -needed shade after a long day at the office. By using angled rafters, louvers, trelliswork, canopies or plants along the top of the structure, you’ll be able to filter sunlight to keep the deck area cool and comfortable.
More and more homeowners are incorporating BBQ grilling areas, full-service kitchens, dining sections, living room spaces with weather-resistant upholstery, and enjoying their yards year-round.
3. Fire Pits and Outdoor Fireplaces
The backyard bonfire has taken on a whole new meaning with the popularity of built-in fire pits and gas fireplaces. Ranking near the top of the most-requested features by all ages of Canadian homeowners, these home improvements draw people together and extend outdoor use for all seasons.
Portable options are great if you’re concerned about your budget, while a built-in fire pit or fireplace design can provide a permanent structure your friends will envy and the next owners will pay more for.
4. Smart Home Features
We all recognize the importance of automation in our work lives, but often neglect the many efficiencies available for our homes. While you may think smart home features are too expensive or ultramodern, reality is that incorporating even a few of these upgrades now will save you money and increase the resale value of your home.
Some smart features are:
- Self-adjusting thermostat—reduce heating and cooling bills.
- Security system—remote door locks and monitoring cameras can be linked to your smartphone and controlled from any location.
- Lighting—automatically turn lights on and off or control remotely with a smartphone app.
- Back-up sump pump notification—set up alerts on your smartphone when there’s a loss of power or the unit malfunctions. You’ll never worry about a flooded basement from a sump pump failure again.
Then, there are the tried and true projects:
5. Kitchen Renovations
Kitchen renovations continue to be ranked as one of the most popular home improvement projects. As the central hub of the home and the significant return on investment you can recoup when you sell, you can’t go wrong.
Here are a few of the key modifications that will have your friends “oohing” and “ahhing” every time they visit:
- Glass mosaic backsplashes—backsplashes, in general, are on trend, but those with glass accents or complete glass tiles stand above all other selections.
- Natural stone and Quartz countertops—these solid surface products are coveted for their durability and unique patterns. The trend is leaning toward Quartz for its totally maintenance-free properties.
- Specialty lighting—pendant, recessed, and under-cabinet styles are becoming staples in today’s kitchens. Long-life CFLs and LEDs provide plenty of illumination without adding to your hydro bill.
- Maximize kitchen storage—you can never have enough storage space for all those kitchen gadgets and cookware, so consider open-display or hanging shelf units, free-standing furniture-quality cabinetry, and dual storage drawer/shelving cabinets.
- Automation—today’s cooks truly love how automation has improved kitchen tasks. Look for hands-free faucets, sensor-activated lighting, and smart appliances when updating the most-used room in your home.
6. Architectural Roofing
While many homeowners wait until their roof has started to show signs of wear before replacing it, new attractive architectural styles and colours are appearing everywhere. Thicker shingles with interesting textures add beauty and durability unmatched in older 3-tab styles. Architectural roofing products can also withstand high-velocity winds to prevent blow-offs and leaks.
7. Finished Basement
There’s no doubt finished basements have moved up toward the top of the “desired renovation projects” list. Using the basement area for a home office, entertainment centre, game room, or in-law apartment will save you thousands of dollars over building an addition. Plan on working with a professional contractor to keep your new space moisture-free. Make sure to follow crucial steps before finishing your basement. That way, when you get together with friends, your home will always get chosen as “the best place to be.”