Making a change – exterior renovations to boost curb appeal

Published 12:00 pm Friday, September 14, 2012

(ARA) – If you were to take a look at a typical neighborhood today, you would see patterns of familiar home designs such as split-level, ranch or colonial. Most of these American styles were built between 1955 and 1985, when there was a need for mass-produced housing. Due to this suburban sprawl, many homes lost the originality and architectural appeal of classic styles built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

If you, like so many others, currently live in one of these houses, its lack of personality and curb appeal may have you thinking about making a change to the exterior.  Yet the overwhelming amount of home design choices may have you wondering how to get started.  

“Many times, homeowners are afraid to do more than replace existing windows or siding with new versions of the same product, simply because they can’t visualize the possibilities for their home exterior,” says John Stephenson, senior vice president of marketing for Ply Gem, a leading exterior building products company.

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To help picture what’s possible in exterior home design and simplify product and color selection, homeowners now have the option to turn to digital home remodeling tools. Online visualizer tools, such as The Designed Exterior Studio by Ply Gem, allow consumers to find inspiration and experiment with renovation ideas, even before meeting with a contractor.  Users can virtually update a home exterior with new colors and style options for siding, stone veneer, windows and more. Homeowners can save their designs, and easily share with a remodeling contractor.

“When meeting with a contractor about a remodel, doing research and having a visual of a preferred exterior style and color palette is a great way to get the conversation started,” says Stephenson. “The existing American housing stock has so much potential for beautiful design and architectural styling; new online visualization tools are designed to help both homeowners and their contractors realize the potential for these older homes.”

Before getting started on an exterior remodel, it’s also important to understand the level of changes you want to make. Ply Gem offers the following tips on making the most of an exterior renovation and provides some insight on how to prepare and get started.

If your home has great bones, but lacks curb appeal and originality, a simple refresh with new siding, windows and accents in different colors and textures can make a big difference.

New windows are also a noticeable architectural feature with the added benefit of increased energy efficiency in the home. Some key elements to consider for beautiful window design include style, grille pattern and color.

For an even more personalized home exterior upgrade, consider cosmetic, nonstructural architectural changes, in addition to the replacement of windows and siding.

“Adding elements to the roof such as window dormers or gables, or changing the entryway with a porch, can give your home personality and create a look that is reminiscent of classic architectural styles,” says Deryl Patterson, principal, BSB Design architecture firm. “These additions also provide visual interest to the exterior, giving it balance and elevation. In combination with appropriate material textures and colors, you can transform your home into an architecturally authentic style.”

By envisioning the type of exterior changes you want to make to your home, and sharing that vision with your remodeling contractor, you will have a significant head start in making your dream home a reality. Visit for more tips, inspiration and tools that show the possibilities in exterior home renovations.