Winter is a great time to do a little work on your house. The exercise can keep you from freezing your tootsies off, for starters. Maybe you’re having Uncle Mark and Aunt Lori over for Christmas nog and want to impress. Home improvement is also more affordable in the winter months as the off-season reduces the costs of materials and labor.
If anything you’ll be stuck in there for long enough, so here are some affordable home improvement projects to keep your cabin pretty and your cabin fever at bay.
Get a Head Start on Spring Lawn Care
Remove all the toys, dog bones, furniture, sticks, and other bric-a-brac that accumulate on a lawn before the first snowfall. Leaving them there can kill the grass. Give the lawn a good, final mow before the first freeze or it may grow long enough for mice to burrow in. Finally, fertilize your trees and bushes. They’ll use the extra nutrition throughout the winter so they can bounce back faster come spring.
Get Rid of Dying Trees
Tree removal services typically see their slowest months in the winter. They may offer you a better deal when they have less to do. Also, when the ground is frozen in place, removing a tree is less likely to upset the surrounding vegetation. The stump may have to remain until the thaw.
Seal off Cracks, Openings, and Air Leaks
Caulk the seams around your doors and windows. Put down weather stripping wherever the weather is trying to get in. Take special care to seal off any gaps that may have formed in your foundation and attic. The materials are dirt cheap in the grand scheme of things and your utility bills will tell the story of a responsible homeowner. Can you think of anything more admirable to be?
Install a Smart Thermostat
If you’re like me, you’d no sooner put a smart camera or smart speaker in your home than you would a lion enclosure. But a programmable thermostat is fairly easy to install and will save significant money on your utility bills. Plus you get to feel like James Bond when you treat your cat to a blast of warm air while you’re at work.
Paint is often less expensive in the wintertime. At less than $30 a gallon you can go nuts freshening up your walls, tiles, paneling, and cabinets. You can also buy concrete coating like Tuff Coat and give your garage floor an immaculate new surface. This will effectively undo any unsightly oil stains that you car may have treated you to.
Install Crown Molding
You don’t have to live like a king to enjoy crown molding. It’s surprisingly affordable, it’s available in a variety of styles, and the improvement it makes to a room’s appearance can be staggering. For this project you may want to engage the talents of a handyman, but many people can navigate the necessary ladder and table saw on their own. Just don’t use both at the same time.
Insulate the Attic
Your home’s attic is probably already insulated. Whoever built the place surely knew North Dakota gets cold on occasion. Still, if your R-value is insufficient it may wind up costing you a small fortune in heating bills. An insulation contractor can offer the expert take on your attic, but you can quickly and affordably lay down insulation on your lonesome. You will want to avoid foil-backed insulation that can trap moisture. Take care to lay extra insulation perpendicular to the joists so as not to compress the lower layer. Also avoid laying insulation over lights, soffit vents, and exhaust fans. That doesn’t pan out well.
Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries
Most smoke alarm failures stem from missing, dead, or disconnected batteries. As a rule you should change the devices’ batteries every time you set your clocks forward or back. But as you may cook indoors more often in the wintertime or use your fireplace, it is crucial that your smoke detector batteries stay lively.
By David Scheller