Summer is the ideal time to tackle outdoor projects. Get started early in the season so you can reap the rewards of a beautiful outdoor entertainment space. At the same time, make sure the interior of your home is optimized to offer a cool respite from that Chicago summer heat and humidity.
Freshen up your exterior for outdoor living:
1. Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Make sure no containers are collecting water and fill low spots in the lawn. When relaxing outside, an outdoor fan (where possible) will be more effective than candles at keeping them away.
2. Evaluate the facade. If you have a brick house with crumbling mortar, this is the season for tuckpointing. If you have siding or stucco, does it need a good wash or a fresh coat of paint? For a faster facelift, swap out the porch lights and mailbox, add window planters, or choose an accent color for the door.
3. Evaluate the roof. If you need new shingles, there’s no better time than summer. When you do replace your roof, make sure to add an ice and water shield underlayment to provide extra protection.
4. Powerwash sidewalks and patios (but be cautious about using a high-pressure setting on decking or facades, where water penetration can cause problems).
5. Prep porches and decks for outdoor living. First evaluate decking for loose or deteriorating wood and fix or replace. If water is soaking in, it’s time to reseal. Then clean and set-up patio furniture, the grill, and maybe an outdoor rug and string lights to complete your outdoor room.
6. If you are building a new outdoor space, consider running gas and electric lines outside. They may be necessary now or in the future, if you would like such perks as a built-in gas grill, sound system, and/or lighting.
7. It’s not too late to grow some heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers in the garden.
8. Organize the garage. If you spend a lot of time working on projects in the garage, installing an epoxy floor will make it much easier to clean wood dust or oil spills.
Optimize your interior for cool comfort:
1. Make sure your air conditioning will function efficiently all summer long. In addition to replacing the filter on your air conditioner, schedule an annual tune up to clean the coils, check the refrigerant levels, and make sure the motors aren’t overheating.
2. If you rely on window units and dread setting them up every summer, look into ductless systems as an alternative to installing ductwork.
3. For an eco-friendly way to keep your home cool, switch out your window shades for blackout curtains to really block those rays, or cellular blinds which insulate with pockets of air.
4. Clean ceiling fan blades and reverse the direction to counter-clockwise, which will push air down and create a nice breeze.
5. Apply spray foam insulation to your attic ceiling to lessen summer heat gain from the sun blazing down on your roof. The insulation will also help, come winter, to lessen heat loss.
6. Wash windows, inside and out. Wash and inspect window screens for holes and install screens on screen doors. Summer is a good time to replace old windows and exterior doors if needed - double-pane windows will provide better insulation and new, properly fitting doors can minimize air leakage.
7. Secure your home with smart tech before leaving for vacation, or for while the kids are home alone. A combination of security cameras that stream to your phone, and smart lights that turn on randomly, can give you extra peace of mind when you’re away on a long trip. Additionally, use a smart doorbell and smart lock to see who’s there and let them in - ideal for the dogwalker or a kid who forgot their keys.
8. Hold a yard sale or donate to a good cause, especially if you’re planning an addition or remodeling project and want a fresh start.
9. Last but not least, get a jump start on your next home addition or remodeling project. Summer is the ideal time - for contractors, the warm and relatively dry weather is ideal for construction, be it installing a foundation, framing, or installing the roof. And for homeowners who live at home during some or all of construction, you’ll welcome multiple opportunities to step away from the work. A kitchen and mudroom addition tends to be a popular request at this time of year - you’re less likely to miss your stove, and a mudroom to corral wet boots will pay off soon enough.
If you would like to learn more about our design-build home addition and renovation services or find out how we can help with a project you have a mind, please get in touch.
Photograph by Scott Webb