Exterior Enhancements on a Budget

Small white house with pink shutters and trim.
House before exterior enhancements is in need of curb appeal.

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This little house built in the 1950s was in need of an exterior makeover to help it sell, so we’re helping the owners, Howard and Cam Johnson, improve the curb appeal on a modest budget.

Yard Maintenance and Exterior Cleaning

The first step in our budget exterior makeover was making the house and yard more presentable by cutting the grass, pruning the shrubs, and cleaning the driveway and exterior of the house.

Woman using a pressure washer to clean driveway.
Pressure washing driveway.

To prepare the asphalt driveway for repair and sealing, we started by giving it a thorough cleaning with a Generac OneWash power washer.

When power washing be sure to use the right tip for the job, keep the nozzle moving, and maintain a consistent distance from the surface.

Watch our video on Tips for Cleaning Your Home with a Pressure Washer to find out more.

To clean the outside of the house, we used the PivotPro Water Wand from Hyde Tools. The PivotPro attaches to a garden hose and comes with a liquid soap reservoir, pivoting nozzle, and attached scrub brush for fast and easy cleaning.

Vinyl Gable Siding and Shutters

To improve the curb appeal of the house, we covered the front gable with vinyl Portsmouth Cedar Shingles (color: black walnut) and vinyl raised panel shutters (color: brown) from Royal Building Products.

Royal’s online HomePlay design tool allows you to see what different styles and colors of siding and trim will look like on your home before you order.

Using a hammer to nail vinyl shingle siding on gable.
Installing vinyl shingle siding on gable.

The interlocking design of the shingle panels allows them to withstand winds up to 160 miles an hour. When installing vinyl siding, center the roofing nails in the nailing slot; and don’t drive the nails in tight, to allow the siding to expand and contract with changes in temperature.

Watch Installing Vinyl Cedar Shakes on a Gable to find out more.

The screws that come with Royal shutters include washers with an attached cap. After you drive the screw, you simply snap down the cap to cover the screw head.

Johnson family and Today's Homeowner crew on porch.
The Johnson family and Today’s Homeowner crew after exterior makeover.

Painting House Foundation and Trim

To improve the look of the concrete block foundation on the house, we used construction adhesive to attach soffit vents over the open concrete block vents. We then painted the foundation with Glidden Premium Exterior Satin paint (color: chocolate brown).

Next, we painted the wrought iron porch railings and column with Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint. To spice things up, the front entry door was painted Crimson Tide red using Glidden Premium Exterior Satin paint.

Watch Painting Wrought Iron Handrails and How to Refinish an Entry Door to find out more.

Repair and Seal Asphalt Driveway

Tamping asphalt repair.
Tamping asphalt repair.

After the asphalt driveway had been cleaned with a pressure washer, larger holes were filled using bags of cold mix asphalt repair patch (QPR Asphalt Patch), and then tamped down flush.

Smaller holes in the driveway were filled with Latex·ite Trowel Patch and cracks with Latex·ite Blacktop Crack Filler.

The final step was to use a squeegee to apply a coat of Latex·ite Airport Grade Driveway Sealer to the entire driveway.

Watch Patching a Hole in an Asphalt Driveway and How to Repair and Seal an Asphalt Driveway to find out more.

Final Touches

To give the house a bit more pizzazz, we replaced the rusty light fixture on the ceiling of the front porch (Portfolio, model# FS130125-13) and added a metal wall hanging from amazon.com to the wall of the porch.

Watch Tips to Improve the Curb Appeal and read Front Door Curb Appeal to find out more.

Small white with brown gable and trim.
House after exterior enhancements with improved curb appeal.

Other Tips from This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Tip for Lighting Small Spaces

Attach a piece of velcro to the back of a battery-powered light, and attach the other piece of velcro inside a small closet or cabinet. Then, simply detach the light to look for things in the closet or cabinet. (Watch Video)

dual-flush toilet

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Glacier Bay Dual-Flush Toilet

Glacier Bay’s high-efficiency dual-flush toilet is both water-saving and economical. It is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

concrete driveway

Ask Danny Lipford:
Driveway Options

Concrete is the most durable driveway option but also the most expensive. (Watch Video)


  1. Have you ever done a show on refurbishing old windows? We bought a home in November that was built in 1923. It has 28 windows, most of which are original. We spent our first winter in this very drafty old home. We love the home but realize the windows need a lot of work.
    We had estimates done for replacing the window while trying to maintain the original look of the home. About 12 bids done and nobody can keep the original look or come in with a bid we can afford.
    My husband retire last year due to health issues. I am still working 3-4 days a week. So he has the time but his shoulders will only allow him to do just so much before he is in pain again. I guess we are looking for ways to redo the windows without killing our budget and ourselves.

  2. We have very old farmhouse ( pre 1880) we have resided with cedar, 20 years ago. But the cedar won’t hold paint, we want to reside ourselves with vinyl, preferably over the old. What is the most reasonably priced Cedar look vinyl that can be done ourselves and will withstand heavy winds which we get out here? (saw Portsmith vinyl cedar shake on one episode.)


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