7 Exterior Home Improvement Ideas for 2021
Your home’s exterior elements give you an opportunity to represent your taste, style and interests. Updates to your home’s exterior can make your house more beautiful and practical for years to come. The best exterior home improvement design ideas can improve your home in multiple, long-lasting ways.
Benefits of Exterior Home Improvement Updates
Several reasons might compel you to update your home’s exterior, including the benefits these projects offer. Design and element updates offer the following benefits:
- Adds value to your home: Increased home value is one of the reasons to update your home’s exterior. A fresh, smart outside look can boost your home’s marketability. If you decide to sell, new exterior features can help you sell faster and earn more.
- Protects your home: Updated exterior features also serve logistical purposes. They can help protect your home from rain, snow, sleet, wind, extreme temperatures and other concerns.
- Improves your home’s curb appeal: Another reason to improve your home’s exterior is curb appeal. Even the smallest changes can make your home look more expensive and beautiful. Every day, you can pull up to a house that makes you proud and feels like home.
- Contributes to security and safety: Updated exterior features are about more than appearances — they can also improve your home’s safety and security. For instance, replacing your front door with a more secure option can make your house less susceptible to a home invasion.
7 Home Improvement Updates for 2021
If you’re wondering how to improve your exterior home design, a few key changes can make the most difference. Updates need not be complete overhauls — replacing one element or changing something simple can be effective. You can choose updates suited to any budget or time frame. Here are seven of the best 2021 exterior home improvement ideas:
1. Repaint Your Siding
If you’re wondering how to liven up your outdoor space while staying within a comfortable budget, one of the simplest things you can do is repaint your siding. A fresh coat of paint has a lot of power behind it — it can make your home look bigger, brighter, more expensive or simply fresh and different. You can choose any color you like, which gives you plenty of creative freedom.
When choosing a new color, think about what you want to accomplish. Do you want your home to look open and inviting? If so, you might choose a white, off-white or pastel shade. Do you want your home to look sophisticated and classy? You could opt for a darker, richer color. Do you want your exterior to feel homey and relaxed? A neutral tone could be the way to go. You could also pair two or more complementary colors for an attention-grabbing effect. In any case, new color on your siding can make all the difference.
2. Add Accent Sections
Another simple change could be adding accent sections to create visual interest and depth. This is an easy way to make your home look fresh without breaking the bank. Some accent sections could include:
- Vertical panels
- Decorative trim
These changes are quick and inexpensive, yet they can make a big difference for your home’s external appearance. You could also alter your siding styles on different areas of your home’s exterior, creating a unique patterned look. Accent sections create a sense of variety that will make your home look more interesting.
3. Build a Deck or Patio
Adding a deck or patio can make your home’s exterior more attractive while also adding outdoor living space for your friends and family. Decks and patios are perfect for entertaining guests on a nice day. They also create a buffer between inside and outside, ideal for kids and pets to shake off rain or remove muddy clothes. Spaces like these are a common homebuyer request, so you can make your home much more marketable in the process.
4. Replace Your Windows
You may also want to replace your home’s windows. Changing up your windows can affect your home’s exterior and interior. A new window style can make your home more beautiful from the outside, and enlarged or altered windows can improve the natural light flow in your home. Updating windows could also make your home more secure.
5. Update the Landscape
One of the best exterior home improvement ideas has nothing to do with your actual house. Landscaping is a major factor when it comes to the look of your home. A few thoughtfully placed shrubs and flowers can make your home more welcoming, bright and exciting. If you’re looking for ways to update your exterior, landscaping is a great place to start.
6. Replace Your Garage Door
Your garage door takes up a large portion of your home’s facade. It’s one of the most important features of a home’s curb appeal. If you’re looking for a way to make a huge difference with a single update, consider replacing your garage door. A new garage door can also improve your home’s security and energy conservation. Whether you prefer wood, steel, glass or something unique, you can find a new garage door to match your personal taste.
7. Replace Your Entry Door
Your home’s main entry door is also an important feature. After all, it’s the first thing your guests will see up close and what will welcome you home each day. Replacing a worn or outdated entry door will help you make a positive first impression. You might also replace your entry door to match other updates. A coordinated garage and entry door contributes to a smart overall appearance. Entry doors provide a lot of creative freedom — you can choose a color, style and material to match your style.
Request an Estimate for a New Garage or Entry Door
Exterior home improvements have many short-term and long-term benefits. Exterior home improvement ideas can make your home more valuable on the resale market, protect your home from extreme weather, boost your curb appeal and create stronger security. Some of the top home improvement updates include repainting, adding accents, building a deck or replacing elements.
If you’re interested in updating your garage or entry door, consider A Better Door Co., Inc. We’re a family-owned business, and we’ve been improving home exteriors with new garage and entry doors for over 30 years. We offer quick turnaround times and constant communication for your peace of mind. You’re sure to find something you love in our broad selection of residential garage and entry doors. If you’re ready to improve your home’s exterior, request your free estimate today.
How Effective Is Garage Door Insulation?
Is it Worth Buying An Insulated Garage Door?
If you are in the market for a new garage door — or simply want to upgrade your current one — you have probably encountered a lot of questions and choices. What style door do you want? What kind of door opener is best for your lifestyle? Do you want a door with windows? What is an insulated garage door? Should you choose an insulated or uninsulated garage door?
At A Better Door Company, we want to help you make informed decisions. In this guide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of insulated garage doors and how important garage door insulation is for energy efficiency, comfort and safety.
- Why Insulation Is Important for Garage Doors
- 6 Benefits of Insulated Garage Doors
- Cons of Garage Door Insulation
- Types of Garage Door Insulation Materials
- What Is R-Value and Why Does It Matter?
- So…How Effective Is Garage Door Insulation?
Why Insulation Is Important for Garage Doors
Insulation adds an extra layer of durability and protection to your garage door. A well-insulated garage door will keep your garage at a consistent temperature, often saving you money on energy bills. This energy efficiency is also better for the environment. Plus, insulated garage doors can help protect your garage and its valuables from inclement weather and break-ins.
How Do Garage Door Windows Affect Insulation?
Garage doors with windows benefit equally from insulation. However, windows do make insulation more challenging. When selecting insulated garage doors with windows, choose double-paned windows — these will add an extra level of insulation, as long as they are installed and sealed correctly.
Attached Garages and Insulation
For garages that are attached to your home, insulation is especially important. Attached garages with an uninsulated door can cause your home heating and cooling system to run continuously, as all warm and cool air will escape through the garage door. Whether it’s an attached or detached garage insulated door, you should always have the following components:
- Properly sealed doorways: Make sure the door between your home and the garage — as well as the garage door itself — is properly sealed, and there are no gaps for air leakage.
- Insulated walls: All walls between your home and garage — including any upstairs living spaces — should be insulated just as thoroughly as you would insulate any other wall in your home.
- Closed windows: All windows should be closed and sealed when the heating or air conditioning is running inside your house to prevent energy waste.
6 Benefits of Insulated Garage Doors
There are several reasons to have an insulated garage door, including:
1. Noise Reduction
You likely make a lot of noise in your garage, especially if the space doubles as a workshop or in-home gym. Insulated garage doors are thicker, which means they reduce noise pollution. With an insulated garage door, you don’t have to worry about bothering people in other parts of your home or your next-door neighbors. Alternatively, you don’t have to worry about any external sounds — like nearby traffic and strong storms — bothering you while you work. With insulation, the operation of your garage door will often be quieter as well.
2. Energy Efficiency
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), home cooling accounts for almost 15 percent of residential energy consumption, while space heating and heat pumps account for about 15.9 percent. Warm and cool air easily escape through unsealed and uninsulated garage doors, meaning your heating and cooling system has to continuously operate to keep your garage up to a constant temperature.
For maximum home energy efficiency, the Department of Energy recommends insulating everything from the roof to the foundation, including garages and the walls connected to them. Depending on which part of the country you live in, you could see significant energy savings.
Because garage doors are designed with extra layers of aluminum, wood or steel protection, they are much stronger and more durable than uninsulated garage doors. They are less likely to dent, rust or warp. When it comes to insulated versus non-insulated garage doors, this durability means the difference between more frequent repairs or replacements. Insulated doors typically require less maintenance due to their reinforced nature.
Unfortunately, home burglary is an all too common occurrence. According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 22.6 seconds in the United States. Unsecured garage doors may be an open invitation to thieves. The stronger your garage door is, the less likely a burglar will be able to breach it in the event of a break-in. In addition to a heavy-duty insulated garage door, other ways you can deter property crime are:
- Installing a home security system: Sometimes, just the sight of a home security system will deter a thief. Choose a system that will alert you of any disturbances while you are away.
- Keeping your garage doors locked: You should secure your door any time you are not in your garage, including when you leave the house, at night and even during the day.
- Reinforcing garage door windows: Thick, double pane windows are not only the better choice for insulation, but they are safer, too. When choosing your garage door, try to select one with windows that are placed higher on the door, to limit visibility from the outside while still letting in plenty of natural light.
The purpose of an insulated garage door is to help regulate the amount of cold and hot air escaping to and from your garage. A more stable, constant temperature makes for a more comfortable environment. If you or your family spends a lot of time working in the garage — or if you do not want to worry about getting into a freezing cold car on winter mornings — an insulated garage door is a smart investment. A stable garage temperature is also crucial if you are storing any food products in your garage.
Insulated garage doors lead to less energy waste in your home. Less wasted energy is better for the environment in the following ways:
- When you use less energy, power plants produce less. When power plants produce energy, they often do so by burning fossil fuels, which releases excess greenhouse gasses into the air.
- As more and more people lower their energy consumption, there is a smaller demand for fossil fuels. Since fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource, the more we save, the better off we will be.
- Less used energy means less disturbed ecosystems for plants and animals, and it lessens the chances for oil spills and land clearing.
Cons of Garage Door Insulation
Although insulated garage doors are an excellent choice for your home, there are a few factors to consider before making your decision, including:
The cost of an insulated garage door is usually higher than the cost of an uninsulated one. For some homeowners, this may be a significant factor in your decision to invest in an insulated garage door. As you evaluate this financial investment, keep in mind the amount of money you can save in the long-term. What you may spend more initially will likely be returned to you — and then some — in energy savings.
In some cases, an insulated garage door may not be as necessary as others. For example, if you live in a warm environment that rarely experiences cold temperatures, you may find it less of a worthy investment. If this is the case, be sure to consider other ways an insulated garage door may be beneficial to you before making the final decision. You may not have to worry about cold weather, but you should still consider an insulated door for a few additional reasons:
- Insulation is just as important when it’s warm: If you use air conditioning or central air to cool your home, you want to keep the cold air from escaping outside. Insulated garage doors will help regulate your garage temperature, and possibly the temperature of your house if you have an attached garage.
- Added safety never hurts: Keeping your belongings safe and secure is a common concern no matter where you live. Insulated garage doors will help protect your valuables and your home from possible theft or severe weather.
- You live in a noisy neighborhood: If noisy neighbors or heavy traffic are an issue where you live, don’t be too quick to decide against insulated garage doors.
Types of Garage Door Insulation Materials
There are different types of insulated garage doors, depending on the material used. The two most common types of garage door insulation materials are polystyrene and polyurethane:
- Polystyrene: Polystyrene is a synthetic polymer made from Styrofoam. Polystyrene is waterproof and an affordable garage door insulation material. It is easily modified and customized to fit any garage or size or construction.
- Polyurethane:Polyurethane is a more complex synthetic polymer, and is often more expensive than polystyrene. However, that added cost comes with additional benefits. The biggest difference between polystyrene and polyurethane garage doors is thickness. Polyurethane insulation is much denser, which means it is more structurally sound and effective at reducing noise.
Door Materials and Insulation
Some garage door materials are more naturally insulating than others. However, with additional layers and insulation, any garage door can be crafted to meet your needs and wants. Some common garage door materials are:
- Wooden garage doors: Are wood doors insulated? Many homeowners want a wooden garage door because they offer timeless style and curb appeal. Don’t worry about sacrificing insulation for design, though. Today, high-quality wooden insulated garage doors — including Clopay® insulated garage doors — are constructed with multiple layers of wood and insulation, making them an excellent choice for your home.
- Steel garage doors: Steel doors are a sleek style choice, and a practical decision for a homeowner interested in a low-maintenance, high-quality door. Steel garage doors are often constructed in multiple layers, which make them natural insulators. When you add an extra layer of insulation, you get a garage door that truly delivers.
Some garage doors, including Canyon Ridge® Collection carriage style doors, are constructed out of both steel and a wood composite. Steel and wood doors offer the best of both worlds: the beautiful, wood-like finish you love and the durability and insulating power of steel frames and an Intellicore® interior.
Garage door insulation also includes weatherstripping on the bottom and sometimes around the sides of your door.
Weatherstripping is a long, often angled strip of rubber or vinyl. It helps keep out water from rain and snow and helps block unwanted airflow. Unlike insulated doors themselves, which are very long-lasting, weatherstripping ages over time and requires periodic maintenance and replacement.
What Is R-Value and Why Does It Matter?
R-value is a measurement used to determine the thermal resistance level of insulation. The higher the listed R-value of a garage door or insulation, the more effective it is at insulation.
For example, insulated Modern Steel™ Contemporary Garage Doors have an R-value ranging between 4.4 and 18.4, depending on the chosen thickness. The R-value of an uninsulated garage door, on the other hand, would be much lower.
Always consider an insulated garage door’s R-value before choosing the right one for your house. Your ideal R-value depends on a few factors, including the climate where you live and the type of heating and cooling system you use. You can calculate which R-value is ideal for your home and use this information to make an informed garage door purchase.
So…How Effective Is Garage Door Insulation?
Are insulated garage doors worth the cost? Garage door insulation can be very effective. However, the exact level of effectiveness depends on a few factors, including:
- The climate you live in: Insulation is more effective in some environments than others. For example, frigid cold temperatures or tropical heat will require a more thorough and intensive insulation process.
- The type of insulation: Both polystyrene and polyurethane insulation work well, but polyurethane is typically denser and more efficient at reducing sound pollution and maintaining a constant indoor temperature. Some door materials, like steel, are naturally more insulated than others.
- The rest of your garage: If your garage door is insulated, but the rest of your garage is riddled with gaps, or other structural issues, you will not see a significant change. To get the most out of your insulated garage door, make sure all other parts of your garage are insulated as well, including your roof, floor, walls, windows and any attached living spaces. If you have a finished room above your garage — whether it is for storage or you use it as an additional living space — it is necessary that you insulate this room the same way you do the walls and ceilings in your house.
Visit A Better Door Company Online to Request Your Estimate
A Better Door Company specializes in garage door installation, maintenance and repair. No matter what type of garage door or garage door opener you are looking for, we have what you need.
Wood vs. Steel Garage Doors: Which Is Best?
When you are choosing a new garage door, there are many factors to consider, such as color and design. The most important factor that will determine how long your garage door will last is the material. Different materials can withstand different amounts of use and require different levels of maintenance, so it’s essential to take into account your typical garage door usage.
Two of the most popular garage door materials are wood and steel. Let’s see which material might be better for you with our wood vs steel garage door comparison!
Pros and Cons of Wood Garage Doors
There are several benefits of wood garage doors as well as several cons to consider.
Pros of Wood Garage Doors
- Appearance: Wood doors provide a natural elegance for a timeless look of beauty and craftsmanship. A wood garage door can enhance the curb appeal of your home and make it more aesthetically pleasing overall.
- Long-lasting: Wood doors have a great amount of natural strength, and are often made with a sturdy hemlock frame and hardboard panels for overall durable construction. Small scratches and scuffs do not show up as much as they do on other materials due to the varying wood patterns and natural grain.
Cons of Wood Garage Doors
- Maintenance: Unlike steel garage doors, wood doors will need to be refinished or painted every few years. Wood doors are not recommended for hot, sunny and dry climates because they are more susceptible to sun damage.
- Insulation: Wood doors generally provide a lower level of insulation than steel doors.
- Price: Solid wood is a more expensive option than steel because it cannot be produced as quickly or easily.
What’s the Difference Between Real Wood and Faux Wood Doors?
Real wood and fake wood may look similar, but they have very different properties.
A real wood garage door is typically solid cedar or redwood, and a faux wood garage door has a steel core and a wood overlay. This means that a faux wood door is much lighter from the wood overlay and is typically less expensive than a real wood door.
A high-quality faux wood door can be indistinguishable from a real wood door, offering the same look and feel. The main differences are price, maintenance requirements and availability.
Garage doors made with real wood require more maintenance to protect it from the elements and pests. Real wood doors usually take longer to receive, as they are custom-made rather than pulled from a warehouse like faux wood doors.
Faux wood doors have the same appearance as real wood doors for a cheaper price, greater availability and less maintenance. As a result, many people consider them a worthwhile alternative.
Yet, there are several pros to real wood that you will not get from faux wood, including better durability and resale value. While a high-quality faux wood door will be hard to distinguish from real wood, this authentic appearance can vary based on quality, and some options may not be as convincing up close.
When choosing between faux and real wood, consider elements such as price, durability, maintenance requirements and long-term value.
Pros and Cons of Steel Garage Doors
There are several benefits and disadvantages of steel garage doors to keep in mind as you make your decision:
Pros of Steel Garage Doors
- Insulation: Steel doors are well-insulated and available in a variety of insulation options. Premium steel doors with polyurethane or polystyrene insulation regulate temperature and make the doors easier and quieter to operate.
- Maintenance: Because steel doors are lighter than wood doors, they are typically easier to maintain and won’t warp or crack due to weather conditions. Corrosion-resistant coatings are also usually available.
- Price: Steel garage doors are less expensive than wood doors.
Cons of Steel Garage Doors
- Damage: Steel doors are more easily dented and damaged than wood doors. While small dents can be removed, larger dents can be difficult to repair. Thicker gauge steel doors can provide more resistance.
Wood and Steel Doors Available in Long Island, NY
At A Better Door Company, we have a wide variety of Clopay® wood, faux wood and steel doors available.
Our Classic Wood Collection offers solid wood options in handcrafted redwood, hemlock or cedar. They feature the classic raised, flush and recessed panel designs so you can choose what works best for your home. The beauty of the natural wood will instantly increase your home’s curb appeal.
For a distinctive wood look, our Reserve Wood Collection Limited Series Edition offers a handcrafted, insulated carriage house-style door. Strong, strikingly beautiful and energy-efficient, the carriage house style combines character and historical charm with convenient automatic operation. The collection features eight carriage house designs available in various wood species and top section/window panel designs that can be painted, stained or mixed and matched.
Our Reserve Wood Collection Semi-Custom Series offers more carriage house design options for a historical appearance and modern operation. This collection features six designs available in three wood species and several finish options. The top section/window panel designs can be mixed and matched, stained or painted to complement your home’s architecture.
For steel options, our Modern Steel Collection offers modern beauty and simple upkeep. The perfect complement to mid-century modern and contemporary home styles, these doors come in a wide variety of options. Choose doors with or without grooves in multiple finishes including faux wood.
Browse Our Doors and Request an Estimate Today
At A Better Door Company, we can help you find the perfect Clopay® garage door option for your home. For over 30 years, we have served residents of Suffolk and Nassau counties with top-notch garage door sales, installation and repairs.
Fill out our online form to request an estimate, and we will reach out to you as soon as possible. You can also call us today at (631) 732-9654 or visit us at our showroom located at 108 Frowin Rd. Ste. 4 Center Moriches, NY 11934.
How to Choose a New Garage Door
When it comes to choosing a new garage door, you have plenty of options. The decision comes down to which option best fits your home’s needs.
Some factors to consider when selecting a door include garage door style, materials, windows vs. no windows, insulated vs. non-insulated and the type of door opener you want. If you’re don’t know what you should look for when choosing a new garage door, read below to find tips from A Better Door.
Garage Door Styles
There are several different styles of garage door to choose from, including:
- Sectional style: Sectional style is the most common type of garage door. Sectional style doors are broken into separate sections, which are held together with hinges. The hinges allow the door to bend and move as it is opened and closed. Because they are so common, sectional style garage doors are available in several different materials and designs.
- Carriage style: Carriage style is a classic type of garage door that resembles the style door found in traditional horse barns. Originally, carriage style garage doors were equipped with handles and opened outward. Many garage doors still open this way. However, homeowners now have the option to have carriage style doors that operate like modern garage doors instead.
- Roll-up style: Roll-up style garage doors coil upward when opening.
Single Door vs. Double Door
If you need a little more space in your garage, you have two options to consider — two single doors or one double door.
Two single doors:
- Reduce the amount of cold or hot air that enters your garage
- Are visually appealing
- Leave no room for a third car
- Need double the maintenance
- Require the purchase of a second garage opener, which could be costly
One double door:
- Provides more space inside your garage, specifically for homeowners who use car seats or wheelchairs
- Requires only one opening mechanism
Also, with one double door, all of your household’s cars will be trapped behind the same door in the event of a door malfunction.
Garage Door Materials To Choose From
When selecting the material for your garage door, you have a choice between wood, composite wood, fiberglass, steel, aluminum, vinyl and glass. What is the best material for a garage door? The answer depends on the qualities and features that matter most to you.
Wooden garage doors provide a warm, rustic touch of style to any home. They are available in two different material makeups — real wood and composite wood.
- Real wood: Popular wood options include cedar, fir and redwood. Real wooden doors are heavy and durable. They are designed by craftsmen and may be customized with different stains or grain options. They are more insulated than composite wood doors.
- Composite wood: Composite wood doors imitate the appearance of wood, but are lighter and less durable. However, they do require less maintenance than genuine wood doors. The initial cost of composite wood doors is also more budget-friendly.
Steel is strong, durable and dent-resistant. They easily protect the interior of your garage from noise or weather. Steel garage doors also provide a lot of insulation and are available in a range of prices.
Vinyl doors are affordable and easy to maintain. They can be customized to fit a variety of styles and colors — however, once a vinyl door is installed, it is challenging to change its appearance.
Glass doors can be a chic style choice for any modern home. They let plenty of natural light into your garage and require no exterior paint to maintain. Glass garage doors can be frosted or mirrored, allowing for more privacy.
Glass doors are often relatively expensive, and although they are designed to withstand the elements, they do not provide insulation.
The Pros and Cons of Garage Door Windows
Another choice you have is whether you want your garage door to have windows. While garage doors with windows are attractive, they have their pros and cons:
Pros: Some of the benefits of windows for garage doors are that they:
- Are aesthetically pleasing
- Let in natural light
- Can coordinate well with the windows in your home
Cons: However, windows also:
- Are more expensive
- Can be breakable
- Offer less privacy
Insulated vs. Uninsulated Garage Doors
As we learned above, some garage door materials, like real wood and steel, are natural insulators.
Other materials can have insulation added to them.
If you’re considering whether to choose a garage door with or without insulation, consider these factors. Insulated garage doors:
- Reduce noise pollution
- Are energy-efficient
- Are more sturdy and durable
- Are more expensive than non-insulated doors
If your garage is above a living space, you may want to consider choosing a door and/or material that provides insulation.
Types of Garage Door Openers
When selecting your garage door opener, there are three main types of garage door openers to choose from, and they are:
- Chain drive openers: Chain drives are the most common type of garage door opener. They operate using a chain that connects the trolley to a motor, which pulls the door open or closed. Chain drive openers are strong and reliable, though often noisy. They are ideal for detached garages. Chain drive openers are budget-friendly.
- Belt drive openers: Belt drive openers operate similarly to a chain drive opener, but use a rubber belt instead. For this reason, operation is quieter.
Wi-Fi or Smart Garage Door Openers
Wi-Fi-powered openers — also known as smart openers — are relatively new to the garage door scene, but homeowners enjoy their benefits. In 2017, 74% of consumers said they would repurchase their Wi-Fi-powered garage door opener.
Some benefits of a WiFi-enabled garage door opener include:
- The ability to open and close your garage door while away from home
- Push notifications on your cell phone alerting you anytime your garage door is opened — some smart openers will even show you the person entering or exiting the garage
Let A Better Door Company Help You Choose the Best Garage Door for Your Home
A Better Door Company is here to answer all your garage door questions. We are a family-owned business specializing in residential and commercial overhead garage door sales, installation and repair throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties in Long Island, New York.