Small Changes With Big Impacts

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There are many ways to update the look of your home. Curb appeal usually begins from the front. What catches your eye first? Usually it’s the color or façade of a house.
Next comes the trim or accent or entrance.

To make a big first impression at your entrance, color and materials are easy to update, and can add a WOW factor. Color can be contrasting – either darker than the building or lighter, either shiny or matte. Another variation on color can be using the same base color of the house but going either lighter or darker while staying in the same family of tones when painting trim around windows or when applied to the color of exterior doors.

One insight about color shading is to know that you can always mix to a darker variation, but you cannot shade to a lighter one. So the painters we know start with a light base, like white, and add the darker tints until the desired outcome is reached. Then that custom color is taken to a paint store which can match and duplicate it.

Another way to update doors, inside and out, is to change the handles or knobs. When keys are involved, at least one company makes a system that enables you to reset one of their locks to work with any of their keys. So to change the look of an entrance door without having to change all of your keys, select from their newer hardware and ask your contractor to follow the directions.

BUT do match the hinges to the finish of the handle or knob. And, think about matching hardware on all of your exterior doors so there is continuity throughout the property. Always make sure the locks and other hardware comply with the building code and fire/safety standards.

That leads to the new fashions in entrances which is to use handles rather than knobs. Some people say handles are easier for anyone with arthritis, and that might be true. The reason we do it is because the aesthetic appeal of a jazzy metal component on a door – either traditional or contemporary in design – delivers a message that says current and that’s a big part of curb appeal.

One more thing. Check building codes to know if a permit is needed, especially when changing anything on the outside of your home. In Florida, at least in our county, new changes in the code require permits and inspections for moveable components such as working shutters and new door installations when frames are involved. There may be other requirements. When we change older doors, we also change the frames to composite materials to replace wood.

One way to make sure materials comply with building codes, in Florida, is to make sure there is a Florida Product Number. Old doors, for example, may not comply with current codes so not matter how gorgeous some may look, they may not pass an inspection. So, how to convert an obsolete although aesthetically desirable product? Even if it cannot be used on an exterior for code reasons, perhaps you can find an interior use.

We like having our contractor get permits and have inspections because we send final copies of approvals and invoices to our insurance company so they can track that we are maintaining our property, keeping up with current codes. If we ever have damage they already know we are entitled to a claim.

We also record releases of liens once all work has been concluded, and we make getting a release of lien part of our agreement with out contractor. In fact, we give him the document we want him to sign and have notarized.  If we ever decide to sell, having those documents for a buyer will confirm that we have made good faith efforts to make upgrades lawful. We think that adds to the value.


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