Curb Appeal Makeover

By: Danny Lipford
ranch-style house

The Lights’ house before the makeover.

Jonathan and Kate Light

Jonathan and Kate Light

Jonathan and Kate Light live in their 1972 ranch-style home with their sons, Gabe and Brody. The house had been updated on the inside; but the exterior was still stuck in the ’70s, hidden by overgrown shrubs and accented with dated wrought iron.

The Today’s Homeowner crew gave the Lights’ home an exterior makeover that made their house stand out in the neighborhood – in a good way. To boost their home’s curb appeal, we replaced the wrought iron with wood columns and railings, cleaned and repaired the concrete porch and brick steps, added professional landscaping, and gave the home some personality with bold, new shutters and a freshly painted front door.

Updating the Porch Columns

Danny and Chelsea construct the new columns and railings.

Danny and Chelsea construct the new columns and railings.

To remove the wrought iron columns, we jacked up the porch roof slightly before pulling out the columns and adding temporary supports.

The first step in constructing the new 6-inch columns was installing a solid 4×4 post in each location. These posts, which support the weight of the roof, were anchored to the concrete at the bottom with a metal saddle and screwed into the porch beam at the top. We used scraps of the column wrap material to act as spacers between the post and the frieze board, to make sure we would have room later for the wraps.

Then we encased the posts with composite material. We nailed the pieces of composite together in pairs to form L-shape pieces. The first pair is pressed tight against the 4×4 on two sides. Before we added the second pair, we nailed up spacers to make up the difference between the dimensions of the post and the composite material. We lifted the bottom of the composite about a 1/2 inch off the porch and covered that gap with pieces of the same material, laid horizontally and mitered around the column.

Repairing the Concrete Porch and Brick Steps

The edges of the concrete porch had crumbled, so we created wood forms to make the edges square again. One critical step many homeowners leave out is brushing on a concrete bonding adhesive, so the new concrete will adhere to the old concrete. Since we were making a repair to an existing slab, we used a sand/topping mix for the new concrete. Once the bonding agent was dry, we troweled the mix into the form.

Many of the mortar joints on the brick steps were cracked or missing, so we filled in the missing mortar using a trowel. Watch How to Repair Cracked Brick Mortar Joints for details.

The Lights' house after the exterior upgrade.

The Lights’ house after the exterior upgrade.

Boosting the Curb Appeal

Kate and Jonathan wanted to add a pop of color to their home, so Kate picked out shutters from Nu-Wood in a bold turquoise hue. They look just like wood, but they’re made from polyurethane so they won’t rot or crack. To give the front a cohesive look, we repainted the door to match the shutters.

After removing the overgrown shrubs, we worked with Sexton Lawn & Landscape to design planting beds that complement the home’s new exterior.

For the finishing touches, we replaced the corroded carriage lights, painted the new porch rails white, and added some homey touches to the porch.

Check out Curb Appeal Starts at Your Front Door for ideas for your home’s entry way.

New shutters, a bold door and updated lights add to the curb appeal.

New shutters, a bold door and updated lights add to the curb appeal.

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Curb Appeal Makeover