Making a Home More Insurable (and Attractive)

This week we’re helping a new homeowner make her house more insurable and a little more attractive too.

Kristin Saroski recently bought a one-story brick home that’s now turned into more project than house. Her insurance company wants her to make some home improvements. 

This shake-style metal roof perfectly complements this brick home style.

Most importantly, she needs a new roof. She decided to go with a metal roof for its strength, durability and aesthetics. The shake-style metal roof goes perfectly with her traditional brick home style.

The roof was installed by a company backed by the Metal Roofing Alliance. If you’re ready to upgrade to a metal roof, or just want more questions answered when it comes to a metal roof, check out metalroofing.com.

While the workers install the new metal roof, we work on other projects to satisfy her home insurance company.


These double columns make the front porch feel smaller.

Replace Columns

The double columns take up too much space and make the front porch look small, so we remove them and replace them with wood posts.

We place the posts under the porch ceiling and use a jack to raise the ceiling enough to take out the columns.

This metal saddle will keep the column in place.

Once the columns are out, we screw down a metal saddle on the front porch for our new wood posts. The saddle will keep the posts in place and prevent the wood from rotting at the base.

The single wood posts give this home much more curb appeal.

After the columns are securely in place, we add some trim to the top and bottom to give them a finished look and paint them to match the railing.


Typically, insurance companies require handrails for rises that are at least 30 inches tall. For safety reasons, all steps should have handrails.

Build Handrail

Once the new columns are in place and secured at the top and bottom, we turn our attention to Kristin’s hastily installed handrail. Kristin glued the handrail down the night before an inspection from her home insurance company. 

The glued-on handrail on the front porch steps is falling over and creating a safety hazard.

Because it’s not nailed down, removing it was as easy as giving it a hard yank.

The new handrail posts are set with Quikrete fast-setting concrete.

To put together a handrail that will improve both the looks and safety of this porch, we dig holes for the bottom handrail posts and set them with Quikrete fast-setting concrete.

We build a wood railing for the steps and the front porch. Before nailing each baluster to the top and bottom rails, we add some waterproofing by applying some wood glue.

The new handrail creates a more welcoming, and safer, entrance to the front door.

After installing the railing, we paint it to match the fascia and gable. 


Missing brick in need of repair on a step.
Before repairing a missing brick, be sure to chip away the old mortar and clear away debris.

Replace Missing Brick

This missing brick on the side of the stairs may seem like a small repair, but it’s an important part of making the porch safe. 

A small bag of Quikrete pre-mixed mortar is ideal for this kind of job. Watch how to do this here.


The brick on the front porch didn’t match the rest of the house, so we painted it with an anti-slip color coating.

Paint Brick Porch

The brick pavers up on the porch floor don’t match the rest of the brick on the house, so we paint them with TracSafe Anti-Slip Coating and TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer from Daich Coatings to improve their appearance and traction.

We went to Home Depot to color match the coating so it’s the same color as the mortar. 

After two coats of the colored coating, we apply two coats of the transparent anti-slip coating. We also put two coats of this on the brick steps.

We also:

  • Painted the fascia, gable and front door.
  • Removed the shutters
  • Rejuvenated the window crossbars with Armor All
  • Removed overgrown bushes and replaced them with new shrubs

Post-Production Thoughts

Kristin’s new home had some issues that caused concern for both her and her insurance company. Her roof had outlived its useful life span and the absence of handrails on the front porch and stairs was a red flag for the insurance company and concern for Kristin. In addition to all of that, the house just needed some character. It wasn’t ugly, just bland. But now, her home has a whole new lease on life.

The new shingle-style metal roof will not only protect her home — it’s given the house a crisp clean look that was missing before.

The new columns and handrails are certainly safer, but they also add the structure, detail and character that the face of this house needed so badly.

The little bit of landscaping we added brings color and a “lived-in” feeling to the house while the pale blue door creates the “welcoming atmosphere that Kristin wanted so badly. 


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Products Featured in This Episode


Further Reading

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