As a Minnesota exterior home improvement contractor, part of our job in working with prospective customers is to help them make choices that will maximize return on investment, protect their homes for the long run, and make changes that add to the value of their homes as well as cut their energy usage.

That's a tall order, we know.  But many of the things that we install - like metal roofing and siding - do all that, and more.  Overall, the dollars spent on these types of projects actually end up saving homeowners money over time and eventually can even pay for themselves.  People see things like lower heating and cooling bills, discounts on homeowner's insurance, reduced maintenance and repair expenses, and more. Certain things can actually increase the value of your home substantially.

But not every home remodeling or improvement project goes like that, and in fact there are things can actually end up costing you money without getting the true value you were seeking.

Don't cut corners on materials.  Unless you need to do a quick, cheap fixer-up because you want to unload your house quickly and you're willing to sacrifice some cash, opting for cheap building materials is never a wise investment.  The old adage, "You get what you pay for," should be a warning here.  Yes, we know aluminum siding and aluminum windows are inexpensive, but both are easily damaged and don't hold up well to our climate.  They make look nice when they're first installed, but take another look in a year or so. You may already be needing repairs. Don't hire an inexperienced contractor. Taking the lowest bid for a remodeling project is rarely a good idea.   We've heard pros recommend that you throw out the highest and lowest bids and look at the ones in between. Chances are they are probably all very close in price. Then you do your homework on each contractor's experience.  And it's more than how long they have been in business.

Look at things like how many projects like yours they have done. What are their industry affiliations?  Are they familiar with installation of the materials you have chosen?  Look for things like certification or recommended contractor by the manufacturer.  Just because a roofing company has installed hundreds of roofs, if they haven't worked much with the metal roofing you've chosen, you might want to keep looking for a contractor.   Installation experience is just as important as quality materials.

Stick to your budget and stay away from add-ons.  Once an exterior home improvement project gets going, sometimes there is the temptation to think along the lines of, "While we are at it, that siding looks so nice, maybe we should redo the windows as well."  While that might be a good idea, adding it on mid-project could be very costly, oftentimes more than if you had included it originally.

Any variation from the original installation contract and plans means your contractor has to shift gears, and it could mean redoing work to allow for your extras. Sure those new windows might look great and save you money, but it will cost you quite a bit if your contractor has to tear off some siding they just installed in order to do the windows.

If you live here in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area and are thinking about remodeling or improving the exterior of your home, why not give us a call for a free in-home estimate?  We don't charge for our consultations, and we'd be happy to talk with you about your plans.  We don't believe in rushing people, and our goal is to give you something that you'll love for decades to come and that will truly add lasting value to your home.   And we have the experience to prove it.