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10 Tips for Renovating the Facade of your Home
04 October 2023
Renovating the façade of your home is an operation that does not necessarily require huge structural investments. Installing new windows and doors, improved shading systems and carrying out small or large operations (even do-it-yourself )can give your home a new lease of life. This article provides 10 tips for renovating the façade of your home from different angles.
Why it is important to renovate the facade of your home
The façade of the house performs two functions:
- it protects the interior elements from the weather, smog and water infiltration;
- provides the aesthetic appearance of the building.
Over time, the external façade is the part of the house that is most exposed to the weather, wear and tear and environmental pollution. These elements not only make the house less pleasing to the eye, but can also affect the safety and stability of the entire building. Renovating the façade of your home therefore has a twofold objective.
If the façade has major structural problems, it is wiser to think about a proper renovation of the façade itself, with the intervention of a specialist company and all the necessary work. If, on the other hand, the façade needs minor work (or even just aesthetic embellishment) huge investments are not necessarily required.
Often, certain measures can give a façade a completely new life and image, as well as a higher market value. The measures listed later in the article can help to give the house a more dignified appearance, to re-integrate it harmoniously into its surroundings or, on the contrary, to make it stand out from all the others in the vicinity.
What to do before renovating the facade of your house
Before moving on to the actual façade renovation work, there are a few steps that it is important to follow to ensure that there are no problems whatsoever and that all the necessary changes are made effectively.
Making an analysis of the current state of the house façade
If the façade of the house is really in need of renovation, this analysis will be quick and easy: the signs of the wear and tear of time are always evident.
Firstly, the façade may appear very dirty and ruined, tending to be caused by pollution. Deterioration and dampness become evident with the emergence of mould stains; plaster or paint begin to peel off, revealing larger or smaller portions of masonry.
If large cracks are present, the problems may be more structural; in this case, qualified personnel would be required to prevent water infiltration into the masonry.
Carrying out proper work planning
Whether it is a small embellishment or a larger intervention, the best practice is always to ‘visualise’ the finished product and consider all aspects of the work in detail. This is especially true in the case of larger works; as in everything, proper planning makes the intervention easier, quicker, more effective and longer-lasting.
Make sure you have permits to carry out façade renovation
If the intention is to embellish the façade of the house only by means of a few ornamental and non-structural touches, you will hardly need any authorisation from the municipality. In all other cases, however, it is important to be certain that the work can be carried out in full compliance with the applicable directives.
Building permits need to be applied for from the municipality only if the works involve a change in the volume of the building, such as the addition of terraces or balconies. If the works involve the occupation of public land – with the presence of scaffolding or construction materials – a building permit will also need to be applied for. A very important document to take into account if you are in a historical centre or in an area protected by architectural constraints is the landscape authorisation, which must be issued by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.
There are other documents to bear in mind. The CILA (Building permit) is required for ordinary maintenance works, which do not require changes to the building’s volume or use. In all other cases, the SCIA (Building permit) must be issued instead. Finally, the APE is the Attestazione di Prestazione Energetica (Energy Performance Certificate), to be requested in the case of energy requalification interventions.
In general, each municipality has its own regulations, so it is a good idea to inform yourself seriously to avoid running into violations that can lead to fines and delayed work. If you plan to do significant work on the façade of your house, it is advisable to contact a company that works in this area.
10 tips to make the facade of your home more beautiful and functional
If the façade has deteriorated or suffered significant damage over time, a proper renovation is certainly necessary, with all the necessary permits and, above all, relying on a specialised and reliable company.
But there are many other cases in which facade renovation does not require structural work. If the façade has minor damage and imperfections, or if the only desire is simply to make it more aesthetically pleasing, not too much work is needed. It is possible to modify/add a few ornamental elements, or only replace/repair specific elements of the façade, such as plaster or windows.
The advice given below refers to the second hypothesis, which means the need to resolve aesthetic dissatisfactions or minor problems without having to intervene on the entire façade structure.
1 – Renovating the front door
If you want to keep your current front door, also known as the ‘entrance door’, you can think about renovating the façade of your house by fixing it in its most worn points and/or repainting it completely, perhaps with bright colours contrasting with those of the façade to give it more character.
However, the advice, if one has the availability, is to change the front door and opt for an aluminium one; a material that, as we have seen, contributes to the house’s performance in terms of resistance, durability, insulation and, above all, anti-burglary security3 .
METRA Building offers aluminium or wood-aluminium entrance doors, with a wide variety of finishes, glass light cuts, handles and accessories to meet any requirement.
2 – Replacing window frames to breathe new life into the façade (and more)
Choosing new windows and doors can bring countless benefits to your home, from an aesthetic point of view but not only. In particular, aluminium window frames have extraordinary qualities, as they guarantee maximum performance in terms of:
- mechanical resistance, weather resistance and weathering;
- brightness of interiors, elegance and clean lines thanks to slim profiles;
- thermal insulation and soundproofing1 thanks to the thermal break;
- a consequent increase in energy efficiency with a reduction in bill costs;
- aesthetics to suit every need and preference. Aluminium can be offered in infinite shades of colour thanks to oxidation or painting; it adapts perfectly to any architectural style: even if it is preferred for more modern and designer homes, it gives any home an allure of elegance and value.
METRA Building aluminium windows can be casement or sliding. The wide range of colours and finishes makes the perfect catalogue from which to take inspiration for renovating the façade of your home.
3 – Replacing shading systems for greater aesthetic and functional impact
What has been said for windows and doors could also be repeated for aluminium shading systems, of which METRA Building offers shutters, blinds and sunshades. We have seen how aluminium has many advantages due to its natural properties; these advantages are equally visible in shading systems.
With the finishes and colours customised to your project, they can beautify your façade and immediately give it a new look. In addition to aesthetics, aluminium shading systems improve the energy performance of the house and protect it not only from external influences, but also from intruders.
4 – Cleaning the facade
Before doing anything else, it is important to clean the façade to remove dirt that has accumulated over time due to weathering, natural surroundings and pollution. Often, this step alone can even be enough to give the façade an immediately healthier and more decorous appearance.
There are different cleaning methods to choose from depending on the materials the façade is made of, its size and the means at one’s disposal.
Some of these methods are:
- Hydrogenation: by projecting water and cleaning powder, it cleans smog, graffiti, rust and soot; it is particularly suitable for concrete, brick, stone and wood.
- Stain removal: cleans blackened parts of bricks, stone, wood and concrete through the use of special cleaning powders.
- Sandblasting: by spraying sand or abrasive powder, with or without water, it removes paint residues, green or grease stains from bricks, stone, wood and concrete.
- Nebulization: a gentle technique that uses water runoff to remove dust, stains and encrustations from materials such as brick, stone and concrete.
- Sanding: a rather aggressive dry cleaning technique to remove stains and residues on resistant surfaces such as marble, wood or concrete.
- Shaving: this is a more delicate technique, ideal for removing all kinds of stains on any type of material laid on a more sensitive or decorated façade.
- Pressure washing: the water spray can be more or less aggressive, i.e. high or low pressure, depending on the dirt to be removed and the delicacy of the materials.
- Chemical cleaning: a treatment that is effective in removing the most stubborn and degrading dirt, but requires excellent knowledge of the material on which it is performed to avoid damage.
Different cleaning techniques can be combined to achieve a more effective result. Depending on the type of façade cleaning you want to carry out, you can choose whether to work alone or enlist the help of specialised personnel. In the case of working alone, it is advisable to inform yourself well about the materials to be cleaned, the type of treatment chosen and any problems you might encounter.
5 – Eliminate small cracks and imperfections in the façade
In the case of large cracks, there is no doubt that it is necessary to turn to professionals in order not to risk compromising the structural safety of the house. But, when faced with small cracks, fissures or imperfections, you can also act on your own.
Small cracks are caused by moisture and weathering. In this case, there are sealants on the market that can be applied to eliminate them completely. In the case of slightly larger cracks or fissures, the damaged part should be scraped off; filler (or filler plaster) and insulation should then be applied to it.
6 – Repainting the façade (or changing the cladding)
Once the cracks have been filled, a smooth and homogenous base is obtained that is ready for repainting. This provides the opportunity to improve the aesthetic appearance of the house, restoring it to its original appearance or, conversely, adapting it to current stylistic trends.
In the case of repainting, this is a job that can be done do-it-yourself: in this case, it is essential to ensure that it is done in complete safety and security. This work also requires the careful choice of materials and methodologies to make it truly effective. If you want to avoid having to redo the work after a few years, it is advisable to choose natural paints with reinforcement. The characteristics to keep in mind when finding the ideal paint are breathability, waterproofness, gloss and durability.
Before painting with the colour chosen for the final appearance, it may also be useful to apply a coating to the walls to protect them from the weather in years to come. These coatings can be class D1, D2 or D3 based on their thickness and function. For example, D1 cladding is ideal for exposed stone or brick walls because it keeps the façade intact by offering invisible protection against water infiltration. Class D2 cladding, on the other hand, is real paint that, in addition to its decorative function, offers protection from external agents.
7 – Adding a pergola to your facade
It may be useful to install a pergola or a canopy to act as protection, possibly also delimiting a space dedicated to rest and conviviality.
Regardless of shape, size and style, the pergola gives the façade of the house a better look, making it look completer and more finished.
8 – Increasing the green share in the façade context
Creating green corners is an effective way to renovate the façade of your home, albeit in an inexpensive and non-invasive way. All you need to do is invest in some soil and flowers or plants that are well adapted to the seasons and the climate you are in. You can also hang plants and flowers from the pergola, as well as achieve a green façade even in the city, perhaps by embellishing windowsills with pots of flowers and plants.
It is possible to embellish these green corners with additional measures, for example by delimiting them with stones and rocks. This work gives a healthy, natural look to the façade of the house, making it immediately more pleasing to the eye, significantly improving air quality and, according to many studies, reducing feelings of stress.
9 – Playing with lighting and other ornamental elements
However much the façade may have undergone total renovation, no intervention will be truly appreciated without proper lighting.
There are various types of lighting such as strings of lights, lanterns and lamps with which different atmospheres and feelings can be created, leaving room for the tenants’ creativity.
10 – Insulate the façade for better thermal insulation
Whereas previous interventions are aimed primarily at a beautification of the facade of the house, in this case we are talking about a renovation of the facade that aims above all at a higher quality of its performance in the long term.
It may happen that, over time, one notices increases in the consumption and energy costs of the house. One reason for this could be the façade, which is no longer able to adequately fulfil its protective and insulating functions. Even without realising this, the façade may still be obsolete in comparison with the new building regulations that are increasingly moving towards a major energy upgrading of buildings.
Facade insulation is an intervention that requires the work of professionals, but which pays off significantly in the long term through energy savings. External façade insulation consists of the application of insulating panels that maintain a constant temperature inside the house, ensuring a warm micro-climate in winter and a cool one in summer, thus cutting heating and air-conditioning costs.
Tips for maintaining and preserving the facade of the house
Once some or all of these facade renovations have been carried out, it is good to remember that its maintenance must be carried out periodically to preserve its beauty and functionality.
The first thing to do is to have a regular cleaning and maintenance programme to remove dirt, dust, paint waste and smog accumulating on the surface of the façade. Removing foliage from gutters and floors, pruning trees and plants, as well as removing moss formations in shaded areas, are actions that must be carried out frequently.
If the façade of a house requires maintenance, it is important to remember that this can be minimised in the case of windows, balcony doors, entrance doors and shading systems made of aluminium. Thanks to its natural characteristics, this material does not require any kind of ordinary or extraordinary maintenance. Nevertheless, aluminium can last even 50 or 60 years without losing its qualities, much longer than a material such as PVC.