The 4 Most Common Home Exterior Issues
Curb appeal can be more than just having an attractive home — it can give an indication to the home’s overall upkeep and maintenance. There are a few common issues with a home’s exterior that crop up time and time again, ranging from “looks sloppy” to “oh, that’s a major problem.”
From being unsightly to causing major water or pest damage, keeping your exterior in ship shape should be high on your priority list as a homeowner. Some issues are obvious and some are more hidden, but here are the four red flags you should keep an eye out for on your own home (or one that you’re considering purchasing).
#1: Holes in the side of the house
Okay, we’ll start with one in the “obvious” category. It may seem kind of hard to miss a gaping hole in the side of your house, but if it’s tucked up behind a hedge or in a corner behind the flower bed, you might not notice it.
Often, what happens is that a pipe or cable was run into the home years ago, but that item has since been removed. This is especially true for homes more than 30 years old! Heat and air can escape, and creepy crawlies can get in — no thanks!
#2: Poor drainage
When it rains, it pours, right? Rain happens, but you can help prevent water damage to your home with good drainage — something that’s lacking for an alarming number of homes. If it’s not handled properly, water pooling around the house can lead to everything from mold to foundation damage.
It’s a smart idea to install (or repair/replace) gutters, point sprinklers away from your house, and generally grade the landscape away from the foundation.
#3: Damaged siding
This issue is one of the most common problems found on home inspection reports. Vinyl siding is a popular manufacturer pick for its low maintenance and relatively low cost, but it can be a real problem if it becomes loose or wavy. Vinyl siding needs to be nailed down, but not just in the spot it looks wonky.
The best way to repair a wavy wall is to pull off all the loose pieces, completely re-attach them to the siding, and then nail them to the house. On that note, loose bricks can also be an issue. If you discover a loose brick on your siding, foundation, or chimney, it’s critical to get a mason to repair it as soon as possible in order to avoid future structural problems.
#4: Dilapidated shutters
This one falls more in the aesthetics category, but don’t underestimate how much power new shutters can have in boosting curb appeal. When shutters are rotting, lopsided, peeling, or just downright outdated, it can make the entire home look tired and worn.Fortunately, it’s easy to upgrade your exterior shutters — we have a wide range of colors, styles, and materials ready for you to peruse. Get started shutter shopping now!
- Gild Group
What Type of Shutters Last the Longest?
When it comes to curb appeal, nothing quite packs a punch like new exterior shutters. But once you’ve made the decision to upgrade, choosing a material can feel totally overwhelming. Beyond color and shape, there’s one element that shouldn’t be overlooked: longevity. Ahead, we’re breaking down different types of shutters and how long they last.
Wood shutters are a classic choice, and our selections here at Monument Shutters are no exception. Our Southern Yellow Pine lumber has been a common type of wood used in the construction trade over the years, and it’s the most dense softwood available.
We also carry cedar shutters, which is the most popular wood type used in exterior shutters because of its resistance to both insects and decay. Cedar is often used in outdoor projects because of its sturdiness and ability to withstand tough weather.
Overall, our wood shutters are manufactured using only the highest quality woods. Our wood is kiln-dried, which helps make it less prone to warpage and shrinkage and more resistant to temperature extremes. Plus, our manufacturing process combines state-of-the-art equipment with hand-crafted workmanship for the finest custom shutter available.
Vinyl shutters are a frequent choice of homeowners, builders and contractors. Why? They feature long-lasting beauty, a wide range of colors and styles, and are easy to install. Vinyl shutters are perhaps the lowest maintenance shutter out there, because they won’t warp, rot, or attract termites.
We carry 15+ colors in vinyl shutters, making it easier than ever to find a beautiful, cohesive look for your home. However, although vinyl shutters are more convenient than other options, they likely won’t last you quite as many years as wood or composite.
Naysayers will complain that composite isn’t real wood. To that, we always reply: “Correct, it may be better!” Composite shutters resist insects, rot, and tough climates without problem, and they have that hardwood look a lot of people want — all at an affordable price point. Our composite shutters are made here in the U.S.A, use no added formaldehyde, and are environmentally friendly. Plus, they’re unrivaled in durability.
At Monument Shutters, we use Extira® Composite material for many reasons, but longevity and quality are the two most important. Although these panels look like MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard), they’re actually 15% stronger! The manufacturing process is completely different, and the Extira shutters boast superior performance. In fact, we’re so confident in them that we offer a 10 year limited warranty.
Wood shutters are relatively long-lasting AND they can be repainted. Generally speaking, you may get anywhere from 10 to 20+ years out of use out of your shutters. However, they are more vulnerable to rot, termites and moisture damage comparatively.
Vinyl shutters are highly sought after because of how popular vinyl siding is on new houses and because they are incredibly low maintenance. However, once paint eventually peels off of vinyl shutters, it’s not usually worth repainting them. Instead, you should replace them. Vinyl shutters are incredibly convenient and low maintenance compared to other options, but they likely won’t last you as long.
Finally, our composite shutters are engineered with durability at the forefront, and are built to withstand tough weather conditions. Because our composite shutters are created with materials that are 15% stronger than MDF, they get our vote for longest-lasting shutter.Find a material that sounds like the right fit for your home? Shop the range here!
- Gild Group
Trend Alert: Monochromatic Exteriors
One popular decorating decision that’s gained popularity in recent years is the monochrome home. When it comes to exterior paint colors, more and more people are opting for a tone-on-tone look. The result can be cohesive and calming — and who doesn’t want to come home to more calm at the end of a busy day?
Monochromatic exterior colors can instantly give a home a modern, minimalist feel. Essentially, the style is to have your shutters, trim, door, and exterior paint have one clean, consistent look. It sounds deceptively simple: The goal is to use the same color palette, but you need to include varying textures and hues so that the look doesn’t fall flat.
If monochromatic modern is the vibe you’re going for, be sure to check out these inspiration images!
Source: Kaemingk Design
Note how on this home, the window trim is the same as the exterior paint, but the different front door really pops.
If you zoom in, you can see that although the same color is used on the roof and exterior, it’s made up of an intricate pattern, which adds interest.
Source: Family Handy Man
This home has the same hue all over, but uses varying tints to pack a punch.
Source: Apartment Therapy
Note how the garage door and stair railings match the house, but the window trim really stands out as a feature.
If matchy-matchy, isn’t your style, consider a lighter or darker tone of the same shade. One hack: Use the same exact paint color, but have the store mix it with 50% white for a lighter color.
Perhaps you can venture into this modern monochrome look without totally repainting your entire exterior — but just changing up the shutters and door.
Think it’s worth a shot? Shop our shutter collection here!
- Gild Group
Keep Out the Heat: How to Insulate Your Windows For Summer
The summer season is upon us! Bright, sunny days also come with oodles of hot air trying very hard to break into your home, make you sweat, and drive your energy bill through the roof. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to keep things from getting too heated at home. Windows are a major place sunlight and heat try to creep in, so heed these tips to keep your place cool.
Don’t skimp on weatherstripping.
You know this tip as a must for cold winter months, but weatherstripping is equally important to keep the hot air out (and your air conditioning in!) during summertime. This is a key component in sealing air leaks and keeping your home cool. Plus, it'll help keep your energy bill down — win, win!
Invest in energy efficient windows.
Old houses ooze charm and character — and unfortunately, old windows ooze hot air into the house. Unfortunately, old windows just aren’t built the same way they are now, and they tend to be much colder in winter and hotter in summer. Upgrading your windows is expensive, but it can actually save you money in the long run thanks to the subsequent energy savings.
Try window films.
Not ready to splurge on new windows? Window films can be a major life-saver during intense summer heat. You can apply window film yourself, but a professional is sometimes used to make sure it doesn’t appear lumpy or uneven. The best part of window film is that it is barely perceptible from the inside, and won’t inhibit your ability to see out of the window clearly.
TIP: Looking for a super inexpensive hack? Try bubble wrap! Obviously, bubble wrap is much more noticable and not exactly chic, but a thin layer on the windows that flood with midday heat is a cheap way to get the same effect as film. All you do is spray a bit of water on the window, and the bubble wrap should cling on.
Try blackout curtains or cell shades.
Blackout curtains pretty much do what they say — they block out all sunlight, which can keep a room much cooler. This is a great option if you have multiple rooms in the house you don’t use and can “close off,” but what about those days when you want to sit in your living room without needing a flashlight? Enter: cell shades. Cell shades are a more stylish, airy alternative for hot living spaces because of their honeycomb-type design, which features cellular tube side pockets. These pockets trap hot air before it makes its way into your home, and larger tubes equal more insulation. For maximum window coverage, you might even consider closing your exterior shutters for added protection on especially sunny and hot days!
Get your windows looking their freshest — and most practical — for the summer season. Shop our entire range of exterior shutters now!
- Gild Group
Will Classic Black Shutters Work For Your Home?
Traditional, timeless, and effortlessly elegant, black shutters are a go-to choice for many homeowners (and for a good reason!). But how do you know if your home is a good fit for black shutters? Ahead, we’re diving into a few reasons why you should consider these black beauties for your own house.
Consider your home’s exterior color.
The first detail you have to think about when considering black shutters is the exterior color of your home. Luckily, black shutters go with just about any color home (which is part of the reason why they’re so popular!). But, there are a few picks that probably aren’t the best fit with black. For instance, if you have a super dark-colored exterior such as dark charcoal or midnight blue, lighter shutters may be a better choice for you. Contrast can be key for shutters, but you still want the colors to complement one another.
Black hides dirt and grime like a charm.
You can’t beat the convenience and ease of black shutters! Shutters inevitably get a build-up of pollen, dust, dirt, and other yuckiness — after all, their original intention was to protect windows and homes from rain, storms, and other debris, not just serve as decoration. While black shutters get just as dirty as other colors, you can get away with not cleaning them for much longer periods of time. Beyond the grime, black shutters can even hide small scratches and dents much more easily than light paint colors.
Black shutters can anchor a home.
If you’re looking for a way to add a statement without overpowering your home, black shutters can do wonders. They are a rare thing in that they are bold without stealing the spotlight. Instantly improve your curb appeal by switching out your shutters — black shutters are a safe, solid bet.
Classic black shutters remain the top choice for homeowners in the U.S., and we don’t expect this favorite will fade from the top spot anytime soon. No matter what color, style, or shape you have in mind for your exterior shutters, we have what you need. Shop the entire range now and find the perfect fit for your home!
- Gild Group
Window Cleaning 101: A (Simple) Guide to Streak-Free Shine
Pollen season is in full swing and you know what that means: It's time to clean your windows. In addition to that seasonal coat of yellow, it’s impossible to avoid all the other common smudge culprits (we’re looking at you, toddler fingerprints and puppy noses!).
Cleaner windows result in a brighter home, and a brighter home makes for a happier spring. Kick your spring cleaning mode into gear and tackle your windows with these tips:
Step 1: Get the right tools for the job.
Before you get going, you’ll want to gather all the materials needed. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Bucket of warm water
- Regular dish soap
- White vinegar with spray bottle or ammonia-based window cleaner (like Windex)
- Dry towel or paper towels
- Extendable mop (such as a Swiffer)
- Grunge clothes in case you get dirty!
Step 2: Start indoors.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but your interior windows will likely be much more clean than your outdoors windows. By starting inside, you’ll be done more quickly and you’ll be able to see more clearly what streaks remain outside.
For your interior windows, drop a few drops of dish soap into a large bucket of warm water and mix well. You don’t want too many suds — a too-sudsy solution is more likely to leave residue and the oh-so-dreaded streaks.
Before you go in with the soap solution, give the windows and frames a cursory wipe with paper towels to get as much excess dirt and grime off as possible.
Next, dunk a clean rag or hand towel into the bucket and wring it out about halfway (just so that the towel is not sopping wet and won’t make as big of a mess). Start scrubbing!
Pro tip: Place a big beach towel under your current work zone to reduce the water that reaches your floors!
After your initial rub-down, which may require more than one pass over the same section, go back in with your clean towel or squeegee. (A squeegee is optimal for less streakage, but if your panes are small and you aren’t able to find a squeegee that will fit, clean paper towels or lint-free cloth will do the trick.) Use long, singular swipes with the squeegee, and be sure to wipe water off the tool with a paper towel in between each stroke.
Pro tip: If you’re hearing a ton of squeaks as you squeegee, you may not have enough soap in your water mix.
Best case scenario: You’ll be one and done. If you still see stubborn streaks and smudges hanging on, you may need to go back in and restart the process once more.
After the rinse and dry process is complete, grab your bottle of white vinegar or Windex and start spraying. Use the same long, strong swipe as before to wipe the solution off the windows and avoid streaks (versus random circular wiping).
And that’s it! At this point, your windows should be shining.
Step 3: Head outside.
Exterior windows notoriously take a beating — and that’s their job! They face pollen, wind, rain, branches, dead bugs (ew!) and plenty of other debris, so it’s not surprising that gunk tends to build up.
Luckily, the window-cleaning process is pretty much the same outdoors as it is indoors: Wipe excess, rinse with soapy water, dry, clean with vinegar, wipe dry.
The major difference is that you may need to use an extendable mop in order to reach your higher windows. Plus, you’ll probably plow through more towels and cloths because of the sheer filth that accumulates outside.
Pro tip: Always start at the topmost window and work your way down.
The other difference is that you should try to minimize time between rinsing and drying your window — the longer the water sits on the window in the open air and sun, the more likely it will result in streaks.
Overall, be patient, don’t be afraid to rinse twice, and accept the fact that you will get wet! It’s worth it though — crystal-clear windows will make your home feel ages newer.
Clean windows aren’t the only thing that make or break a sharp-looking house. Shutters can be the difference between night and day when it comes to curb appeal! Thinking it’s time for a spring refresh for your shutters? Shop our entire range now.
- Gild Group