By A. Noton
Simply renovating windows and doors can provide a great boost to a home’s appearance. This can be done at reasonable expense if the homeowner plans carefully and does most of the work. With the economy making a slow recovery that has yet to reach the average American, this is good strategy.
Practical Facelifts for Doors
Doors have a subtle yet strong impact on the appearance of any building. Although they are seldom noticed unless they are particularly fancy or ill kept, doors that look shabby will seriously detract from the first impression of the house. Renovation could involve purchasing new doors. A more practical and certainly cheaper alternative is to sand and refinish the existing door.
Refinishing a door is much more easily accomplished if it is removed from the frame. Then the sanding can be done more efficiently. Paint or stain and varnish can be applied without the inconvenience and annoyance of spotting the frame or walls. The floor is also more easily protected by this method.
If the homeowner can borrow a door from another location, it can be used to temporarily replace the door that is being worked on. A garage or other outbuilding may provide such an item at no cost. Removing a door from its hinges and replacing it can be done easily with a few simple tools. Make sure the replacement door can be locked to keep the house secure. If no lock exists, simply purchase one for this purpose and install it.
Inexpensive Facelifts for Windows
Shabby-looking windows can certainly detract from the appearance of a home. Sometimes all that is needed is a thorough cleaning of the glass and frame. Before taking on this task, remove any drapes or curtains and launder or dry clean them at the same time.
Windows with only light soil may simply require cleaning with vinegar and water. Just add a half-cup of white vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Heavier soil may require a stronger solution. In a gallon bucket, mix 2 cups of 70 percent isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, one half-cup of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent. Use the kind for hand-washing dishes. Fill the bucket with warm water.
Wash windows with a partner. The person on the inside should rub up and down, and the one on the outside should go side to side. Use a new sponge or cloth for cleaning. Soap residue on a cloth will cause streaks. Dry the outside with crumpled-up newspaper that has no colored inks. Inside the house, dry with a clean coffee filter.
Windows that have wooden frames may need renovation from time to time. The wood can become damaged and need partial replacement. A homeowner with carpentry skills and the necessary tools can accomplish this at little cost. A beginner should probably hire a professional. The key to keeping the cost down is to replace only the damaged wood.
Once the windows and frames are sound, the wood can be thoroughly sanded and refinished. This will greatly improve the appearance of the home for a very modest investment.
Double panes that have come unsealed will have to be replaced. This is a costly process, but not as expensive as replacing all of the windows. A homeowner who uses good planning and takes the time to do as much of the work as possible himself can save a bundle.
Renovating windows and doors is traditionally a springtime job. With warm weather approaching, start now to evaluate what needs to be accomplished. Make arrangements early and do as much of the work as possible to keep the costs reasonable. This is one job that will pay great dividends for many years.
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